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City

Rediscovering the Center

By William H. Whyte. Foreword by Paco Underhill

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-9

Contents

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pp. 10-11

Foreword

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pp. 12-17

1 Introduction

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pp. 18-24

2 The Social Life of the Street

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pp. 25-41

3 Street People

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pp. 42-72

4 The Skilled Pedestrian

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pp. 73-84

5 The Physical Street

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pp. 85-95

6 The Sensory Street

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pp. 96-119

7 The Design of Spaces

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pp. 120-148

8 Water, Wind, Trees, and Light

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pp. 149-157

9 The Management of Spaces

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pp. 158-172

10 The Undesirables

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pp. 173-181

11 Carrying Capacity

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pp. 182-190

12 Steps and Entrances

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pp. 191-209

13 Concourses and Skyways

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pp. 210-222

14 Megastructures

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pp. 223-238

15 Blank Walls

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pp. 239-245

16 The Rise and Fall of Incentive Zoning

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pp. 246-272

17 Sun and Shadow

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pp. 273-283

18 Bounce Light

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pp. 284-292

19 Sun Easements

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pp. 293-300

20 The Corporate Exodus

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pp. 301-314

21 The Semi-Cities

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pp. 315-326

22 How to Dullify Downtown

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pp. 327-333

23 Tightening Up

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pp. 334-341

24 The Case for Gentrification

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pp. 342-347

25 Return to the Agora

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pp. 348-359

APPENDICES A. Digest of Open-Space Zoning Provisions in New York City

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pp. 360-364

B. Mandating of Retailing at Street Level

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pp. 365-366

Notes

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pp. 367-383

Bibliography

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pp. 384-394

Index

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pp. 395-403

Acknowledgments

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pp. 404-405


E-ISBN-13: 9780812208344
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812220742

Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 2012