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Anyone who cares about cities should know William Holly Whyte, one of America’s preeminent urbanists ranking with Jane Jacobs and Louisville’s own Grady Clay. In 1980, Whyte created this film, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, documenting how people behave and interact in public space, focusing primarily on New York City. It’s an hour long, but well worth watching, so find some time this weekend and get to know cities—and Louisville—a little better.

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Branden Klayko

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ah, thank you. I love this video. I’ve seen it about a half dozen times and every time I appreciate it more. Whyte’s quips still make me laugh out loud and the film is still a great demonstration on how planning ought to be done.

  2. I am a big fan of Whyte’s research. I have not yet seen this documentary, but I read his book by the same title as well as some of his other work. Tremendous research overall…so I’ll be sure to watch this documentary in the near future.

  3. What a great video! It seems like I saw it on WKPC some years ago. Someone needs to convince Mayor Fischer to watch it. There are lots of little things from Whyte’s study that would make downtown Louisville a much more enjoyable space. I love the idea of permanent food windows opening onto small parks and plazas. We generally lack that downtown, and it would be relatively easy to create in several locations.

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