Labor Heights Plaza: Place for an Emergent Public

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Day laborers are a visible indication of an increasingly problematic immigration policy in the U.S. Their presence in area parking lots has agitated local residents, who demand action by municipalities. This thesis explores the issue of day labor waiting sites in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. region and proposes a physical design solution to help integrate these sites into existing neighborhoods.

A literature review provides background in plaza form and history, as well as some theories on immigration and assimilation. The case study examines a publicly-funded day labor waiting center. Lessons learned from this case study, as well as site analysis and a review of user needs, are then applied to the final design. The design takes the resilient public space type of the plaza and adapts it to the day laborers' unique set of requirements, resulting in a multi-functional space that serves a diverse set of demands.



day labor, plazas, public spaces