City: Rediscovering the Center

City: Rediscovering the Center

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by William H. Whyte
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0812220749

ISBN-13: 9780812220742

Pub. Date: 09/02/2009

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Named by Newsweek magazine to its list of "Fifty Books for Our Time."

For sixteen years William Whyte walked the streets of New York and other major cities. With a group of young observers, camera and notebook in hand, he conducted pioneering studies of street life, pedestrian behavior, and city dynamics. City: Rediscovering the Center is the

Overview

Named by Newsweek magazine to its list of "Fifty Books for Our Time."

For sixteen years William Whyte walked the streets of New York and other major cities. With a group of young observers, camera and notebook in hand, he conducted pioneering studies of street life, pedestrian behavior, and city dynamics. City: Rediscovering the Center is the result of that research, a humane, often amusing view of what is staggeringly obvious about the urban environment but seemingly invisible to those responsible for planning it.

Whyte uses time-lapse photography to chart the anatomy of metropolitan congestion. Why is traffic so badly distributed on city streets? Why do New Yorkers walk so fast—and jaywalk so incorrigibly? Why aren't there more collisions on the busiest walkways? Why do people who stop to talk gravitate to the center of the pedestrian traffic stream? Why do places designed primarily for security actually worsen it? Why are public restrooms disappearing? "The city is full of vexations," Whyte avers: "Steps too steep; doors too tough to open; ledges you cannot sit on. . . . It is difficult to design an urban space so maladroitly that people will not use it, but there are many such spaces." Yet Whyte finds encouragement in the widespread rediscovery of the city center. The future is not in the suburbs, he believes, but in that center. Like a Greek agora, the city must reassert its most ancient function as a place where people come together face-to-face.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812220742
Publisher:
University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date:
09/02/2009
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
408
Sales rank:
795,042
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Paco Underhill

1. Introduction
2. The Social Life of the Street
3. Street People
4. The Skilled Pedestrian
5. The Physical Street
6. The Sensory Street
7. The Design of Spaces
8. Water, Wind, Trees, and Light
9. The Management of Spaces
10. The Undesirables
11. Carrying Capacity
12. Steps and Entrances
13. Concourses and Skyways
14. Megastructures
15. Blank Walls
16. The Rise and Fall of Incentive Zoning
17. Sun and Shadow
18. Bounce Light
19. Sun Easements
20. The Corporate Exodus
21. The Semi-Cities
22. How to Dullify Downtown
23. Tightening Up
24. The Case for Gentrification
25. Return to the Agora

Appendices
A. Digest of Open-Space Zoning Provisions in New York City
B. Mandating of Retailing at Street Level

Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments

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