William H. Whyte is author of the book entitled “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces”. The book is a publication of Whyte’s Street Life Project where he studied the socialistic tendencies of people in urban spaces of New York City. He exposed many unusual circumstances that one may otherwise have never expected to witness and proves a number of common prejudices wrong. There is also a 58 minute video of these same findings, which helps to better understand and enjoy his research.
Here is a small clip of the video which focuses on the street corner:
That was just a small fragment of William H. Whyte’s witty and original film about the open spaces of cities and why some of them work for people while others do not.
The video was introduced to me by a professor in the 2nd year of my landscape architecture studies. Not only was it fun to watch – as people watching is a great activity, and you get to do it in the comfort of your own home – but it is also very educational in terms of urban open space design and its users. It helps Landscape Architects to realize what amenities really are necessary for the spaces they design and where they will be best utilized, since 99.9% of the time, they are designing spaces for people.
Will Ramhold is a student of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida and a contributing writer for Landscape Invocation.