Art for/of the unhomed

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Virginia Tech


The thesis begins by critiquing the use of a street, Broadway, in the Garment District, NYC, which primarily is used for display of public art. The main goal of the exhibition is to attract visitors so as to promote local business, according to the local alliance responsible for the display. This action actively neglects the needs of everyday users of the space: homeless individuals, employees, delivery workers, etc. This thesis serves as functional art, providing a space for all occupants to coexist while challenging the notion that homeless people are fundamentally different.

Focusing on the distinct architecture and zoning laws of New York City, this work examines the city's unique history with homelessness, including the recent historic amendment of the 'Right to Shelter' law. Additionally, it proposes a modification to Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) so that empty commercial spaces could benefit the public. This architectural exploration also involves thinking about temporary structures, light, urban layout, and landscaping.

By combining these artistic and architectural explorations, this thesis provides a framework for Broadway in Garment District of New York City for occupants to use, interact with, and modify, fostering an inclusive and adaptable urban space.

This thesis is functional art, architecture, and a framework.



public art, homelessness, framework, intervention