The Need for Public Bathrooms

Accessible, clean, and safe public bathrooms are a necessity in a city as large, dense, and diverse as New York. Like housing, public bathrooms are a basic need, a human right, a public health concern, and a necessary piece of urban infrastructure. This project proposes design, finance, and maintenance solutions for the City of New York to provide public bathrooms across the five boroughs. Access to public bathrooms is not a new issue in New York. Four City administrations and numerous advocacy groups, including the Urban Justice Center and Picture the Homeless, have been trying to expand New Yorkers’ access to public bathrooms. This booklet, designed by us for Urban Design Forum, highlights the importance of public bathrooms in the public realm, especially in improving public health and promoting human rights.