GEORGIANA VARNA  
space shaper, place maker, policy advisor

Assessing the Publicness of Public Space: The Star Model of Publicness

G Varna & S Tiesdell, Journal of Urban Design, 2010

This paper presents a model of, and method for benchmarking, the publicness of public space, termed here as the Star Model. The model is intended to be of value for comparative purposes (i.e. measuring the publicness of one place vis-a-vis another); as an analytic measure of publicness to be compared with more subjective interpretations of publicness; and as a departure point for deeper investigations of why particular places are more/less public than they could/should be. The paper is in four main parts. The first part discusses and then conceptualizes the nature of ‘public’ space. The second considers publicness as a multi-dimensional concept, identifying and discussing five meta dimensions: ownership; control; civility; physical configuration; and animation. The third explains the model and the integration of these dimensions into a pictorial representation of a place’s publicness. The final part discusses the model’s value and suggests avenues for further development and research.