This project examines dog owners' and non dog owners' use of an off-leash urban dog park to learn how such public space is used and by whom. As cities densify, the challenges of defining public and private space and of ensuring space for all users will intensify. Given these limitations, why should public land be devoted to dogs and their owners? This ethnographically based project contributes to answering that question by observing and analyzing the role off-leash dog parks play in facilitating social interactions between dogs, dog owners, and others. While the role of urban parks in facilitating such interactions has been widely researched and positively reported upon, the social role and usage of off-leash dog parks has been less studied. Off-leash dog parks, as a particular type of setting, provide a distinctive venue in which dog owners, dogs, and other visitors may shape varied yet satisfying interactions.
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Thesis advisor: Dyck, Noel
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