Public Space as Art and Commodity

The Spanish American Plaza
  • Setha M. Low


This chapter tackles the problem of the relationship of architecture and visual culture to “unstable” cultural meanings by providing an analysis of a designed urban form—the Spanish American plaza. The examination of the public space as art and commodity provides a glimpse of the contradictions between the artistic and often idealized representational purposes of the urban plaza and its political and economic base. Bringing these contradictions to light helps to demystify visual culture and highlights the ways in which architecture and urban design are deeply ideological both in artistic style and political purpose.


Agar Defend 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Setha M. Low
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Psychology and Department of AnthropologyGraduate School and University Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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