This is the fifth edition of a series of conversations I had with graduate students from Pratt Institute's Urban Placemaking and Management program, in New York. Coming from diverse professional backgrounds and from different parts of the world, these aspiring Placemakers share their thoughts on their profession, interests and the public spaces they love. 

The cultural and democratic life of the city depends on viable public space. Together, we can truly make NYC public for all and help create more dynamic, healthy and happy neighborhoods. Tell us what your favorite public space is and why, using #PublicForAll to help us spread this message.

Jiayi Cheng from China is featured in this week's blogpost!

Dhanya: Describe the city you're from. What's your favorite public space from your home city and why?

Jiayi: I’m from Dalian, China. My favorite public space is XingHai Square located by the coast, which includes an entertainment park and is one of the largest city squares in the world.

Dhanya: What is your background in? What brought you to a career in urban placemaking?

Jiayi: I studied landscape architecture and interior design during my undergrad in China. I got into the placemaking program because I wanted to connect my design background more to the public, the communities, and the realities of urban life.

 D: What are your areas of research/design interest?

Jiayi: In general, I’m interested in community interactions and landscape design. My thesis research however, explored the concept of the public realm in Tremont park and its neighborhood in Bronx, through traditional Chinese medicinal practices.

D: What or who inspires your professional/academic goals?

Jiayi: I've always aspired to have a career that combines science and art together. I think landscape architecture is that type of career.

D: What is your favorite public space in New York and why ?

Jiayi: Waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge and The Battery Park give me enough space to hang out for different activities as well as a beautiful view of the river.

D: What do you think is missing from the conversation around public spaces?

Jiayi: The understanding of public spaces and uses in different cultures around the world.

D: What according to you is the biggest challenge with respect to public life in the city you're from?

Jiayi: In my city, the control of public space is all in the government’s hands & people don’t have the habit of using public space a lot.

D: How do you like the public spaces in NYC ? What would you change and how?

Jiayi: I don’t like the public spaces in NYC a lot. I would change the access conditions for instance and pay more attention to how people really feel in those spaces.

D: What are your aspirations after graduation?

Jiayi: Building a communication bridge between designers and communities is one of my key aspirations as a professional.

D: How do you envision the future of your profession 10 years from now?

Jiayi:: I think placemaking will become the future for traditional city planning.

I got into the placemaking program because I wanted to connect my design background more to the public, the communities, and the realities of urban life.

Jiayi Cheng

Photos (2)

Daniel Eizo Miyagusko

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The Battery Labyrinth built to commemorate the one year anniversary of WTC tragedy, offers a space for public to reflect, honor and heal.

Daniel Eizo Miyagusko

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Battery Park Boardwalk