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April 06, 2006

William Whyte

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A while back I wrote an intro to the great Jane Jacobs. Another giant figure in the field of thinking-about-cities-and-towns who deserves similar treatment is William Whyte. Best-known for the classic volume of '50s sociology "The Organization Man," Whyte (who died in 1999) spent years observing and recording the ways people interact with the spaces around them. How do people behave at crosswalks? Why do some parks work while others don't? He asked sensible, basic, humane questions -- and then did his best to find out the answers to them. Why do I suspect that few of today's starchitects are familiar with his work?

I'm sorry that I don't have the time or wherewithal at the moment to pull together something elaborate about Whyte. Still, why not pass along a few links? Here's an interview with Whyte. The best look at his life and work that I've found online is this Project for Public Spaces bio of him. You can dive deeper into Whytes ideas and observations about urban life by reading his mega-wonderful book "City: Rediscovering the Center."



posted by Michael at April 6, 2006


And here's Phillip Lopate's piece on him from the Dec 2000 METROPOLIS:

Posted by: winifer skattebol on April 7, 2006 12:11 AM

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