Let the Street Dance Back into the Street: How a Danceable Public Realm May Support a More Inclusive Seattle
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This thesis studies how an artist community based on a shared activity (street dance) approaches the urban environment and uses urban space in Seattle neighborhoods. Street dance is a vernacular dance in the urban context, tightly associated with the public realm, informal activities, and community gathering. The study begins by framing and bridging the street dance culture with urban and built environment theories. A review of scholarly papers and media reports present a big picture of this vernacular culture and its relevance to urban studies, followed by spatial analysis, interviews, and a survey that focuses on street dance in Seattle's urban area. Spending two years as a street dancer and urban planning master candidate, I maintained professional networks in the dance community, academic professions, and planning practitioners. Through my own connections to local dancers in the Seattle community, I use participant observation to explore the local context and concerns of this cultural community - who is at the table, who is leading the scene, where they gather, where dancing takes place, how local dancers deal with obstacles, and what they think about the rights and voices they have in different spaces. The study finally arrives at a dancing space inventory and suggestions for a more inclusive urban public realm from the perspective of dancers themselves.
- Urban planning