Analyzing urban spaces: A comparative study of sociability in two plazas in Santiago de Querétaro City, Mexico
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The focus of this thesis is to assess and validate the factors that contribute to the sociabiUty of plazas as outdoor urban spaces in a Latin American city, such as Santiago de Queretaro city in Mexico- Sociability is the ability of an open space to bring people together in an informal manner, and thereby generate human activity and a sense of place- In many Latin American countries, plazas have become one of the crucial elements of the urban environment, and have performed an important social role- This thesis examines two plazas in the city of Santiago de Queretaro, located in the center of the Mexican Republic- The first plaza is called Plaza de Armas, which is an old colonial plaza located in the downtown area. The second plaza, Plaza de Lomas de Casa Blanca, is located in one of the newest neighborhoods developed in the outer limits of the city- This thesis reviews and analyzes the various premises established in scholarly hterature pertaining to urban open spaces. The relative success of each plaza is analyzed according to the concept of sociabihty as discussed by the "Laws of the Indies," Jane Jacobs, William Whyte, John Zeisel, Claire Cooper, Suzanne and Henry Lennard, Michael Laurie, Nestor Hemandez, and Setha Low. This research seeks to validate the factors that constitute the levels of sociabihty of both plazas by examining the two plazas according to eleven comparative analysis criteria synthesized by Nestor Hemandez. This thesis analyzes whether the success of the old traditional plaza and the contemporary plaza is related to the eleven comparative analysis criteria and the "Laws of the Indies." The results of this study show that the eleven criteria synthesized by Nestor Hemandez and the lessons which are drawn from the "Laws of the Indies" are valid factors that affect the sociability of plazas in Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico.
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