Just as I was writing about homelessness and walkable public spaces I received a Vimeo from SafeGrowth friend Sue Ramsay in New Zealand. It is a 4 minute video uncovering simple urban design and social programming features that make a public space fantastic.
It is all based on William H. Whyte’s 1980 book The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, and to a lesser extent his follow-up book, City: Rediscovering The Center.
Whyte was born 100 years ago and he became mentor to Jane Jacobs and inspiration for the New York place-making group Project for Public Spaces.
|Screenshot from William Whyte: In His Own Words by Clarence Eckerson Jr., Streetfilms|
His ideas for reclaiming civilized, walkable, and fun urban places are simple, obvious and oddly ignored in too many cities. Here are a few that show up in the video:
- the wonderful invention that is the movable chair
- musicians and street arts make a place fun
- fountains cannot induce sitting unless there are decent places to sit
- protect access to the sun
- water should be accessible, touchable, and slapable
- street personalities make a public place more amicable.
|Water in public spaces should be touchable and slapable - Screenshot from William Whyte: In His Own Words|