How Public Space Reflects a society: Old Pasadena

Essay by unsplendid_1University, Bachelor'sA, February 2006

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Public space is an open environment which is created and given lives through forms of human interactions. A public space can reflect a certain culture and create limitations for people interacting in that environment. According to Jack Soloman's Interpreting the Built Environment, "[these] spaces of everyday life, both public and private, personal and architectural, are packed...with complex codes that we violate or ignore at our peril. These codes all originate in the way that human beings define their territories." (392) By observing the architecture, human activities and environment of a certain place through semiotic method, one will be able to discover to what extent that place serves as a public space and how it reflects a larger area on the whole. The Old Town Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard is a shopping, dining and commercial paradise. Through the observation of the Old Town, we can see that how the environment and human behavior inter-relate with each other and how it reflect Los Angeles' culture and evolution.

Terry Sillo and John Manion described Colorado Boulevard as a "diverse collection of commercial civic buildings." One characteristic of buildings in Old Pasadena is that they adopt an ancient style of architecture which is close to the Mission Revival style. Most of the buildings have two levels where only the first levels are being used a shops and restaurants. There are nightclubs, pubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, outdoor mall, music shops, piercing shops and a flight ticketing center. There is a diversity of cuisines in Old Town; there are Thai, Japanese, American, Italian, Swiss, Mexican, Indian and Chinese restaurants. There are also civic center, city hall, outdoor mall, commercial office building, and church and art center. Beautiful carvings on the walls of the buildings shaped the whole environment into an ancient European escape from...