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The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. W hat makes an open place (e.g., plaza, mall, park, etc.) pleasant? How do we measure/assess the pleasant qualities of these spaces? What view of city life is put forward in this film? What was the societal impact (in New York City) of Whyte’s work?.

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The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces


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    1. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces • What makes an open place (e.g., plaza, mall, park, etc.) pleasant? • How do we measure/assess the pleasant qualities of these spaces? • What view of city life is put forward in this film? • What was the societal impact (in New York City) of Whyte’s work?

    2. Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Seagram Building, 375 Park Avenue (52nd to 53rd Streets, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson (1958), who won an architectural competition arranged by Phyllis Lambert, architect and daughter of Sam Bronfman. What building in Toronto did Mies van der Rohe design that is quite similar to Seagram’s?

    3. Seagram Building Architects: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Phillip Johnson Built in 1958

    4. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

    5. Toronto-Dominion Centre • Mies van der Rohe’s only Canadian building

    6. Paley Park • Designed by Zion & Breen on the site of the former Stork Club (just off 5th Avenue at 53rd Street

    7. Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces • What ethical issues arise from Whyte’s filming behaviour occuring in the street? What does the current Canadian Tri-Council Ethics Code state about the filming of behaviour in public?

    8. Marshall McLuhan McLuhan made a distinction between North American and Mediterrean cultures’ use of space related to privacy and community. This cultural difference could explain the Kitty Genovese incident.

    9. Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Characteristics of best used plazas: • higher proportion of groups rather than solitary individuals • Greater proportion of female users • Variablility over day, week, season *”People are most likely to sit where there are places to sit”

    10. Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Design Criteria for Plazas: • “Triangulation: presence of people or things that induce strangers to talk with each other • Surveillance comes from vendors, newsstands, building employees. • Dealing with “undesirables”: make the area appeal to anyone

    11. Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Design Criteria for Plazas • Movable chairs (benches are less desirable) • Seating area should be approximately 10% of the total open space • Protection from sun, wind and noise (use trees and water) • Availablility of food (snack bars, vendors, tables & chairs) • Related to the street, near the action

    12. Film: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces Design Criteria for Indoor Spaces (e.g., atria, galleries, courtyards, arcades, concourses, indoor plazas) • Seating • Food • Retail stores • Public toilets • Presence

    13. Underhill, P. (1999). Why we buy: The science of shopping. New York: Simon & Schuster. • A fascinating description of Underhill’s company’s (Envirosell) research into consumer behaviour. • % buying jeans after trying them on: • Females: 25% • Males: 65%

    14. Examing price tags:Females: 86%Males: 72%“Butt-brush” stops female purchasersImportance of adjacenciesDetection of shopliftersImportance of shopping basket distributionRight turn bias of North American shoppers

    15. Mean shopping times in a national housewares chain store (USA):Women with women 8 min. 15 secs.Women with children 7 min. 19 secs.Women alone 5 min. 2 secs.Women with men 4 min. 41 secs.How could you increase women’s shopping times for women accompanied by males?