The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

In The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, William Whyte and The Street Life Project explore the sociability of urban spaces and try to determine the design elements and human characteristics that make spaces livable. Originally a project on urban overcrowding, Whyte and crew conclude that an abundance of people gathered together throughout the day is not necessarily a problem, but instead a healthy measure of a location’s vitality. Using a combination of time-lapse photography and inferences from direct observation, Whyte shows how architecture promotes chance encounters with friends, fosters communication among strangers, and stimulates communities.

For more information on William H. Whyte, and research on “What makes a place sittable,” check out the Project for Public Spaces.