City: Rediscovering the Center

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LaFarge Literary Agency, Aug 25, 2009 - Political Science - 388 pages
17 Reviews

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.

  

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Review: City: Rediscovering the Center

User Review  - Taylor Ellwood - Goodreads

In my opinion, part of being a successful business owner is learning about how your business is impacted by different influences. In City, Whyte discusses urban renewal and development and what is ... Read full review

Review: City: Rediscovering the Center

User Review  - Greg Brown - Goodreads

This book was sort of a micro-level sequel to the macro-level of Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities, more focused on the elements like ledges, walls, and sunlight that made up ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword
xi
Introduction
1
Street People
25
The Skilled Pedestrian
56
The Physical Street
68
The Sensory Street
79
The Design of Spaces
103
Water Wind Trees and Light
132
Sun and Shadow
256
Sun Easements
276
The Corporate Exodus
284
The SemiCities
298
How to Dullify Downtown
310
Tightening Up
317
The Case for Gentrification
325
Return to the Agora
331

The Management of Spaces
141
The Undesirables
156
Carrying Capacity
165
Steps and Entrances
174
Concourses and Skyways
193
MegaStructures
206
Blank Walls
222
The Rise and Fall of Incentive Zoning
229
Digest of OpenSpace Zoning Provisions New York City
343
Mandating of Retailing at Street Level
348
Notes
350
Bibliography
367
Index
378
Acknowledgments
387
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

William H. Whyte (1917-1999), author of the bestselling Organization Man, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press, was born in Pennsylvania and educated at Princeton. Paco Underhill, founder, CEO, and President of Envirosell, is the author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping and Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping.

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