Streaming Media


The graffiti tradition grew out of New York City and Philadelphia in the latter half of 20th century and today is universally saturated within the visual landscape of urban space. Beyond its artistic role, graffiti can be used to indicate the shift from private to public space. This study analyzes the relationship between amount of graffiti and the publicness of space. It begins with a review of the dimensions of graffiti that range from its imperceptible traits to its role within different spheres; and furthermore present theories of public spaces. These theories create a framework from which a publicness scale is constructed for the idiosyncratic city of Copenhagen, Denmark, allowing for the direct comparison of publicness of space and amount of graffiti. This comparison tests whether graffiti is the most abundant where space is the least public. From the analysis between amount of graffiti and publicness of space, this study concludes that there is a statistically significant relationship between amount of graffiti and publicness of space, although it is apparent that other factors are at play. Analyzed within the context of Copenhagen, this relationship validates the importance of graffiti as a tool of expression, and determines how concentrations of type of graffiti characterize space within a larger conversation of public identity. Furthermore, this study finds that the relationship between graffiti and space helps to uncover how cities are used and invites for the improvement of public spaces. Overall this study uncovers a lack of quantitative assessment on graffiti and a need for the standardization of categorizing public spaces.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Urban Studies


Other Geography | Other Sociology | Scandinavian Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


graffiti, public, space

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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