Dizin Eklenmedi

Indoor or Outdoor: Free Wi-Fi and New Patterns of Behavior for Privately Owned Public Space

Received: Accepted: Published: 2015-12-30



Abstract: Wireless devices and networks serve as one type of interface that can be used to negotiate, filter, and control users’ experience within the built environment.  Privately owned public spaces (POPS) often offer wireless connectivity to the public, and have the ability to increase the overall use of public spaces (Hampton, Livio, & Sessions, Goulet, 2010). This study compares indoor and outdoor POPS, and the role of wireless networks on users’ behaviors and perceptions of these spaces. The purpose of this research is to compare users’ preferences of public space typologies, and better understand users’ preferences of physical features in public spaces. Observations, recorded through behavioral mapping, of two POPS (one indoor and one outdoor) in Lower Manhattan revealed common patterns among wireless device users. When wireless users were present, mobile seating options were preferred over fixed seating choices in both indoor and outdoor spaces. A web-based survey of POPS users (N=64) revealed that users’ prefer outdoor public spaces for Internet-use over indoor spaces. The majority of respondents (85%) reported that green spaces (parks) were the most commonly preferred setting for Internet use in public space. Furthermore, “free Wi-Fi with strong signal strength” was indicated as the most important characteristic in choosing a public space with the highest mean score, followed by seating among Internet users in POPS. However, the physical characteristics that most influenced positive preferences toward images were both seating and vegetation. This indicates that while the importance of free Wi-Fi in public space is high; physical characteristics tied to the outdoor environment remain important in choosing public spaces.  

Keywords: Urban public space, private owned public space, Wi-Fi, digital public space, third places, environment and behavior


Please purchase to download content


Please purchase to download PDF




Bakardjieva, M. (2005). Internet society. London: Sage.
Boulianne, S. (2009). Does Internet use affect engagement? A meta-analysis of research. Political Communication, 26(2), 193-211.
Carr, S., Francis, M., Rivlin, L. & Stone, A. (1992). Public Space. Cambridge, M.A.: Cambridge University Press.
Forlano, L. (2009). WiFi geography: When code meets place. The Information Society, 25(5), 344-352.
Gissen, D. (2001). The forest and the plaza; public space in the executive era. Blueprints (19)4, 8-10.
Hampton, K. N., Livio, O., & Sessions Goulet, L. (2010). The social life of wireless urban spaces: Internet use, social networks, and the public realm. Journal Of Communication, 60(4), 701-722.
Hampton, K.N., Sessions Goulet, L., & Hers, E.J. (2011). Core networks, social isolation, and new media: How Internet and mobile phone use is related to network size and diversity. Information, Communication & Society (14), 1.
Kayden, J. (2000). Privately owned public space: The New York City experience. New York: The New York City Department of City Planning and The Municipal Art Society of New York.
Kendall, L. (2002). Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Miller, K. (2007). Designs on the public: the private lives of New York's public spaces. Minneapolis, M.N.: University of Minnesota Press.
Németh, J., & Schmidt, S. (2007). Toward a Methodology for Measuring the Security of Publicly Accessible Spaces. Journal of the American Planning Association, 73(3), 283-297.
Németh, J., & Schmidt, S. (2011). The privatization of public space: modeling and measuring publicness. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 38(1), 5 – 23.
Oldenburg, R. (1989). The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. New York: Marlowe & Company.
Pew Internet Survey (2012). American Life Project. http://www.pewinternet.org. Date accessed: 10 April 2012.
Quan-Haase, A. & Wellman, B. (2006). Hyperconnected net work. In C. Heckscher & P. Adler (Eds.), The firm as a collaborative community (pp. 281-333). New York: Oxford University Press.
Rosenstock, S. & Parker, B. (n.d.). Green Space: The Winter Garden at Battery Park City by Cesar Pelli & Associates springs eternal green for the citizens' benefit. Designing New York, n.p.
Schuler, D. (1996). New Community Networks: Wired For Change. New York: Addison Wesley.
Sorkin, M. (Ed.), (1992). Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space. New York: Hill and Wang.
Townsend, A. M. (2004). Digitally mediated urban space: new lessons for design. Praxis: Journal Of Writing & Building, (6), 100-105.
Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.
United Nations General Assembly. (2011). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom and expression. Date accessed: 30 January 2012.
Whyte, W.H. (1980), The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. New York: Project for Public Spaces, Inc

Citation Information

Cited by articles

Cited by Google Scholar

Search GoogleScholar

Citation Management Tool

Altmetric Attention Score

Full Text Views

Cited by

Ethical Obligations Journal Sevices Contact us
Copyright © 2010-2017 MacroWorld Ltd. All Rights Reserved