In fall semester 2015, students in Dr. Bjørn Sletto’s course, CRP 382c: Social Life of Public Spaces partnered with the Urban Design Division of the Planning and Zoning Department, City of Austin, to investigate the implications of the increasing privatization of public spaces in Downtown Austin. Students documented pedestrian mobility and perceptions of four privately owned plazas in the Warehouse District in downtown Austin, located at 100 Congress Avenue, Second Street and Lavaca (the W Hotel Plaza), 4th Street and Congress (The Frost Bank Plaza), and 301 Congress Avenue. The students sought to critically analyze the accessibility and diversity of these privately owned plazas in light of the recently instituted Downtown Density Bonus Program (DDBP). The DDBP allows for the development of publicly accessible plazas as community benefits in exchange for entitlements, including the right to exceed maximum height regulations. The interdisciplinary group of graduate students used a combination of methods including surveys, photography, video, mapping, and ethnography. They learned that these spaces are neither accessible nor particularly diverse. Rather, pedestrians who were surveyed and interview saw the plazas as private places that serve as passageways to access office and bank buildings, as utilitarian spaces for office workers to take smoke breaks, or as comfortable alcoves for the enjoyment of hotel or restaurant guests. In their final presentation to Planning and Zoning Department staff, students suggested that the City of Austin should strengthen provisions aimed at furthering accessibility and diversity in future plazas, in particular those developed as public amenities under the DDBP. The final report of this work can be viewed here.