Monday, September 7, 2009

Video: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

A great video series on YouTube - featuring 'The Social Life of Small urban Spaces' videos (a companion to the book, or is that vice-versa) by William 'Holly' Whyte . The content is kind of late Mad Men era (OK it's the 1970s, but one expects Don Draper to mosey through the shot looking dapper, but with someone other than his wife on his arm) but still fascinating. I wonder why no one is doing this type of urban analysis in our modern times (and please let me if you know some modern iterations of this) as our media-accessible world this seems easy - maybe even through a series of security cameras stiched together.

I've embedded the first installment below... but check out the full series of videos... I'm through a few and they are pretty intriguing.

Thanks @space2place on Twitter for the link to these.


  1. This is a great video! I have wondered the same thing and wanted to conduct my own studies. But, after a few days of shooting one plaza, I realized that I didn't have the time to undertake such a project.

  2. Very interesting! Thanks for posting.

  3. Max Conrad played all of William Whyte's videos in his Introduction to Landscape Architecture class at LSU. They are no less relevant today than they were 30 years ago.

  4. I want the guy to film and narrate my life. Good stuff.

  5. We've been showing this film in the Intro to Environmental Design class at UC Berkeley for a couple years now - we're actually about to show it to this year's class this week!

    It's not that recent (but more recent than the William Whyte film), but Louise Mozingo has written a really interesting article on how women and men use urban spaces differently - it can be found on the Places journal site.

  6. Similar to the other posts, this video is a favorite among UC Irvine Planning, Policy, and Design Faculty - It's been shown in 3 of my classes in the last two years. Even despite seeing it so often, I still enjoy every bit of it.

    I've watched part one on YouTube but I can't find the remaining part(s) of the video.

  7. Julian Bleecker of Near Future Lab has done some very interesting work that builds on the William White videos.

    (Julian holding camera on a pole)

    at the high line.

  8. Thanks ParaMod... great stuff. I'll do a follow up post with Julian's videos...


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