The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces: The Street Corner

Here is a short clip of William H. Whyte‘s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. It looks at why some open spaces of cities work for people and others don’t.

The clip shows an analysis of a street corner near the plaza of the Seagram Building in NYC and  looks at what makes it so effective as a small urban space.

A busy place for some reason seems to be the most congenial kind of place if you want to be alone. […] The number one activity is people looking at other people.

The video was adapted from a book of the same name by William H. Whyte, who is perhaps most well known as the author of The Organization Man.

Alas, the video is largely out of print and not easily found in libraries. This is a shame because, although it is 30 years old, it remains extremely relevant today.  If you are extremely determined to see it, there is a DVD copy for $95. This price includes a license for public performance, so perhaps you can talk with your local indie cinema to see if they can arrange a screening.

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Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.