Introduction and Methodology Literature Review 4 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 32 36 40 41 47 48 6 8

INTEGRATION Bill Hillier, The Social Logic of Space, 1984

ORGANICNESS Christopher Alexander, A New Theory of Urban Design, 1987 SERIAL VISION Gordon Cullen, The Concise Townscape, 1961 MEMORABILITY Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, 1960 MAGIC Allan Jacobs, Great Streets, 1993 SOFT EDGES Jan Gehl, Life Between Buildings, 1980 High Museum Piazza Centergy Plaza Woodruff Park Summary

EYES ON THE STREET Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961 SITTABILITY William Whyte, The Social Life of Small Public Spaces, 1980 Case Studies MULTIPLICITY Margaret Crawford, Everyday Urbanism, 1999

Policy Implications Bibliography Image Credits

Contemporary (and historical) urban design lacks an incrementalist sensitivity that has seen many a socially and culturally troubled but infrastructurally promising (and known-quantity) district plowed over by freshly flawed polemical expressions whose problems (rather than qualities) emerge over lifetimes of decreasingly mysterious failure and increasingly mounting regret. There is serious need for strategies that can quantitatively assess and incrementally improve socially inept districts without preemptive architectural decimation. This paper will extract from 50 years of literature a set of concrete urban qualities that are discursively proven and practically measurable to provide the profession a method for piecemeal urban improvement. After applying the set of measures to three case studies, it should become clear that many issues of urban social decline could be assuaged with modest architectural interventions rather than all-out urban renewal. PROBLEM: NEED INCREMENTAL STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE URBAN SOCIAL INTERACTIVITY

Quality urban spaces and districts foster social interaction that generates and sustains meaningful community. The most such successful urbanities emerge over long periods of time, experiencing series of revision and improvement that refine them into rich environments replete with social activity and, thus, healthy communities. It seems, therefore, that if a place lacks or loses infrastructure to accommodate community-building socialization, it should be injected or replaced in bits and pieces as the present inhabitants and users can absorb and inhabit it. Unfortunately, many new urban design projects neglect the notion of incremental development in their vision for the future. Instead of simply medicated, the troubled past is erased – along with all of its potential and uniqueness – and replaced with something untried, untrue, and likely to fail or at least severely stumble for lack of historical authenticity and local conditioning. EXTRACT DESIGN STRATEGIES FROM THE LITERATURE Over the past 50 years, numerous scholars and visionaries have put forth strong arguments for incremental development and an appreciation for accumulated complexity. In many cases, these authors pen entire methodologies not short of manifestos that, in great detail, proffer design approaches to improve the social character and capacity of urban places. Other, less architecturally prescriptive authors supply perspectives that can easily be translated into specific design strategies. This paper shall extract one key tool from each author’s magnum opus to assemble a kit of critically seasoned incrementalist approaches to measuring and improving the socially interactive and, thus,

community building capacity of urban spaces.


To make them useful in practice, the rhetorical design strategies and approaches gleaned from the literature review must be converted into measurable quantities, specific observable conditions, and/or concretely implementable tools. Each author’s contribution shall be thusly translated into something that can be directly measured in exiting urban environments and/or inserted therein to improve spaces’ capacity for and quality of social interactivity and subsequent community formation and maintenance. APPLY METRICS TO CASE STUDIES Three local case studies will demonstrate the metrics applicability to a variety of actual urban places. Having applied all metrics to each, the cases importantly become comparable in terms of their capacity to foster social connectivity in the public urban realm. Sites include the piazza in front of the High Museum in midtown, the Centergy Plaza at Tech Square, and the northernmost portion of Woodruff Park downtown. Though each site involves a unique set of specific conditions and concerns, all are of comparable size and urban centrality (they are all on or very near Peachtree Street, Atlanta’s flagship thoroughfare). CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

Executing the case studies will reveal how the sites’ physical characteristics affect its social and experiential performance. This exercise could inform policy promoting similar study of new urban developments and redevelopments during their design or redesign process to ensure designers account for their projects’ social and experiential dimensions in addition to strictly physical and formal concerns.


parsing from their rich texts one key metric or strategy to be measured and/or documented in the case studies. by objectivity (most objective to most subjective). this paper will attempt to distill but one readily measurable concept from each – perhaps future work could engage additional metrics from these authors as well as soliciting metrics from others. within each scale group. and some but subjectively conveyable.Decades of scholarly urban design research have yielded a number of important treatises full of insights that can directly inform actual urban design work. While all of these authors potentially provide many such ideas. The authors are organized in this literature review according to these traits. 1961 MEMORABILITY Kevin Lynch The Image of the City 1960 Allan Jacobs Great Streets 1993 MAGIC PERSONAL 6 William Whyte The Social Life of Small Public Spaces. some to the architectural. The metrics are not consistent in scale or objectivity: some apply more to the urban scale. some are highly quantifiable. first by scale (urban. some are directly documentable. architectural. some to the personal or bodily. Bill Hillier The Social Logic of Space 1984 Christopher Alexander The Social Logic of Space 1987 Gordon Cullen The Concise Townscape 1971 LITERATURE REVIEW ARCHITECTURAL URBAN INTEGRATION ORGANICNESS SERIAL VISION EYES ON THE STREET Jane Jacobs The Death and Life of Great American Cities. and then personal) and then. 1980 SITTABILITY OBJECTIVE Jan Gehl Life Between Buildings 1980 SOFT EDGES Margaret Crawford Everyday Urbanism 1999 MULTIPLICITY SUBJECTIVE . This literature review shall engage nine of the most prominent works.

7 . Christopher Alexander informs a simple survey of surrounding structures’ vintage to help enrich the perception of historical context. a highly subjective feature that cannot be measured but should be considered and possibly embedded in a project. Jane Jacobs indicates a need to gauge a site’s internal visibility spectrum to make sure users feel safely observable from more angles and less likely to feel vulnerably screened or isolated. unforeseen uses and spontaneous activities to ensure a place engenders diverse socialization and supports democratic freedom. Jan Gehl calls for roughly countable layers along sites’ edges that contain interactive people and provide shades of transparency and social interest. The proceeding pages elaborate on these authors’ insights and elucidate how their work translates into variably measurable metrics to be exercised in the case studies that follow. Gordon Cullen offers a way to document the visual and spatial experience of approaching and moving through an urban space to help choreograph a dramatic procession. At the personal scale. Kevin Lynch explains the importance of memorable structures or formations that help viscerally position a place within an urban network of landmarks. Allan Jacobs seeks the presence of magic about a site. William Whyte suggests a practical census of seats and seating types within a site to make sure there are enough sitting opportunities of sufficient variety for passers through. Margaret Crawford advocates the accommodation of various. Bill Hillier provides an entirely quantifiable measure of integration to explain a site’s position and level of connection (both infrastructural and symbolic) within the overall urban network. At the architectural scale.At the urban scale.

places of exceedingly low integration could be considered of exceedingly low social and cultural import. suggesting that structures and activities located along and near them are of high cultural and social significance. likewise. 8 Bill Hillier. who writes. In turn. Areas of high integration are highly accessible and highly connected to other parts of the city. The Social Logic of Space. By the nature of its measurement. integration also implies accessibility and connectivity. that is. In this case.” He suggests that architectural and urban organization (not style but order) might be one of a culture’s most powerful self-expressions. differences in the ways in which members of those societies live out and reproduce their social existence. One way to transfer this insight into the study of contemporary urban design involves Hillier’s concept of “integration. In short. 1984 INTEGRATION . Hillier believes that we can understand a society’s culture simply by examining the way they order their built environment. it gains cultural and social significance. it becomes more embedded within the overall urban structure than other. It is no coincidence that Peachtree Street is simultaneously Atlanta’s most important and most connective (aka integrated) street: as it accrued cultural significance it was physical grafted onto with a higher intensity than other. Much of Hillier’s work has surrounded quantifying aspects of integration so different cities can be compared in similar terms (thereby comparing social and cultural formations via spatially organizing constructs). Beyond that. cities are consequences of their society’s social structure and. a society’s social structure is preserved and propagated through its spatial organization.” Less consequences of technology or environmental context. And. understanding a society’s culture helps clarify its architecture and urbanity. less significant streets in town.” He describes the emergence of main thoroughfares in unplanned cities as an accumulation of social importance along a certain path. we can compare social and cultural formations from different societies by comparing the way they order space: “spatial order is one of the most striking means by which we recognize the existence of the cultural differences between one social formation and another. space must be described in terms of its intrinsic sociality.Societal organization and urban spatial organization are inextricably linked according to Bill Hillier. social structure is embedded in architectural and urban structure. integration will be measured using a GIS application. less significant paths. As more urbanites use the path and build on it. The more integrated streets should be considered more important culturally and socially. “Society must be described in terms of its intrinsic spatiality. thereby becoming more integrated than most other streets around it. in return. As it gains such significance.

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Each emerges in the context of its predecessors and so is more inclined to adhere to their existent ordering principles. Like a written language. The more piecemeal the place has emerged. Built constituents deeply correlate across the landscape and through history. Thus.” As new urban pieces emerge. is less likely to exhibit orders of wholeness because it has steeped less in the existent conditions and overwhelms them in scale anyway. Quality “new growth emerges from the specific. but in every detail. Christopher Alexander.” or its “specific structural quality. Alexander suggests there is a strong correlation between intensity of wholeness and historical development incrementality. assessing a place’s degree of wholeness is as simple as measuring how incrementally it has developed. not only at the largest scale. they must correspond to the existing orders of wholeness to avoid corrupting it. “ “The condition of wholeness is always produced by the same. and details into a coherent gestalt. Christopher Alexander calls a city’s perceivable development process its “organicness. on the other hand. A New Theory of Urban Design. the more wholeness likely pervades.Part of a city’s social richness involves how it physically develops. They must also contribute a new and enriching expression of the wholeness to avoid diluting it. streets. welldefined process. the orders of wholeness provide a common structural framework that accommodates substantial diversity so all pieces can be personally expressive but limits difference to the bounds of linguistic comprehension so no piece destabilizes the system. ordering plats. which works incrementally. under their own laws of wholeness. rendering them moot. A place that develops in larger pieces over shorter periods of time. peculiar structural nature of its past. 1987 ORGANICNESS 10 . older pieces relating to new pieces through a shared embracement of the particular orders of wholeness which bind the city into an environment that makes sense on all levels. facades.” Places of high organicness “grow as a whole.” Places of low organicness are built in big chunks according to discontinuous rules that logically distinguish them and prevent an incorporating “wholeness”. True wholeness pervades at all scales.” It works with existing structural conditions and adds new but historically coherent complexity.” A place that develops in small pieces over time is more likely to support a structural relationship between those pieces. “The task of creating wholeness can only be dealt with as a process.

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The city becomes a continuous chain of dramatic moments leading from one view to the next. Its purpose is to take all the elements that go to create the environment: buildings. that we take over this linking as a branch of the art of relationship. traffic. Gordon Cullen calls this “drama. For a city is a dramatic event in the environment. serially traversable spaces. on the other hand. advertisements. The Concise Townscape. A steady diversity between spaces ensures a dynamic experience with more surprises to heighten emotional feedback. “Although from a scientific or commercial point of view the town may be a unity. the city’s procession of spaces needs to be both diverse and related. then we are finding a tool with which human imagination can begin to mold the city into a coherent drama. water. Images are made at the threshold of each new view. 12 Gordon Cullen. Chronologically juxtaposing the images enables an assessment of the overall experience’s dramatic coherence. trees. however. and to weave them together in such a way that drama is released. from our optical viewpoint. Each new view upon rounded bend elicits another emotional event that thickens the plot established by the previous tableaus provided by the city and experienced by the traveler.” Documenting the city’s scenes becomes storyboarding its drama. the more people will indulge the drama. the city’s spaces are viscerally strung together by a traveler’s specific experience of them as they unfold before and around him/her. For the drama to fully develop. Emotionally. Cullen’s tool to measure a city’s dramatic effect involves measuring a traveler’s “serial vision” as he/she passes through it.” A city’s dramatic potential can be equated with its potential to attract more players to its stage. nature. In the normal way this is an accidental chain of events and whatever significance may arise out of the linking of views will be fortuitous. a city could be considered an environment of distinct. 1961 SERIAL VISION . Individual spaces and structures seeking users should engage with and relate to the overarching plotline and contribute special “dramatic events” of their own to enhance not only their own but the city’s overall experience. “There is an art of relationship just as there is an art of architecture.” an enlivening gestalt that makes the city both interesting and enriching. and so on. enabling an assessment of individual dramatic potential. The process of manipulation has begun to turn the blind facts into a taut emotional situation. we have split it into two elements: the existing view and the emerging view. Perceivable relationship amongst spaces binds the series of emotional moments into a manifold experience far richer than if they were simply isolated incidents with no interactive bearing.Spatially. Combining a view-based series of dramatic events with the social interactivity of added people compounds the city’s capacity to engage its users and cause them to engage each other. The more emotionally visceral a city’s traversal experience. Suppose.

” 13 . bringing the plan to life. will provide a sequence of revelations which are suggested in the serial drawings. reading from left to right. Each arrow on the plan represents a drawing.“Serial vision: to walk from one end of the plan to another. at a uniform pace. The even progress of travel is illuminated by a series of sudden contrasts and so an impact is made on the eye.

“eyes upon the street” to surveil goings on. eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street.Good city streets support a heterogeneous population of locals and strangers. The buildings on a street equipped to handle strangers and to insure the safety of both residents and strangers. old hats and new arrivals. 1961 EYES ON THE STREET . and enough passersby and other street users to keep things safely active (as opposed to forebodingly lonely). They cannot turn their backs or blank sides on it and leave it blind. Jane Jacobs suggests these include a clearly defined public domain (as obviously distinct from a clearly defined private domain). must be oriented to the street. The more hidden corners and enshrouded edges. The space syntax team originating at University College London provides a powerful tool to evaluate this “eyes on the street” capacity. lingerers and passersby. the more effort one must expend to simply fathom the space before s/he can even decide if s/he wants to stay. More often than not. If the space can be entirely ascertained and evaluated from its edges. their flagship utility. 14 Jane Jacobs.” Ultimately. when faced with such a task. earnest use (as opposed to a space of ambiguous extents which might be avoided altogether for fear of its hidden mysteries). Public urban spaces should promote and support natural surveillance by avoiding visual obfuscations and hiding articulations that create blind spots pedestrians might fear passing. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. people don’t go places they don’t know are there). Jacobs calls for the buildings to orient themselves towards the street so their occupants are architecturally compelled to observe the outdoors and thereby keep an eye on what’s happening: “There must be eyes upon the street. calculates isovists (the area of viewable territory from a given point in a built environment) across a grid cast throughout the space and then graphically indicates which regions of the space provide more view (or larger isovists) relative to all others. it stands a better chance of honest. A space is said to have high “eyes on the street capacity” if it sports few darkly colored. the issue doesn’t stop at safety. Areas thusly coded red are directly visible from more positions across the whole space. less visible regions and is more uniformly brightly colored and highly visible. A comprehensively visible public space potentiates a comprehensively utilized public space (as William Whyte writes. “Eyes upon the street” is perhaps the most famous (and architecturally measurable) of these related concerns. the passerby passes by. Depthmap. There are certain morphological characteristics necessary to accommodate that much sociological diversity without engendering disorder. By this measure. areas coded blue are largely invisible from other vantages across the space. Additionally. the better urban space provides more universal visibility from more vantages within and along its boundaries.

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nodes. without macro influence. he or she can attempt to create a landmark or edge that memorably defines his or her site.To promote navigability and socio-cultural connectivity.” The more the place (or element[s] within or about it) stick in the memory. or district (because districts tend to define themselves as collections of related sites – unless they are single. can be contained within a single site and still openly participate in the city’s broader concert of edges and landmarks. While the designer cannot. bounded project site (or study area). Districts are urban zones that effectively cohere behind a common character of some sort be it visual (such as distinguishable from the rest of the city by a common architectural style) or structural (such as a swatch of uniform grid within a more haphazard overall city plat). Kevin Lynch provides five categories (path. edge. Because they operate in networked concert. Edges demarcate boundaries between two things or places or at least two types of things or types of places. Nodes are typically either important path intersections or other significant urban centralities. landmark) into which most urban elements can be sorted to measure a city’s memorability (visually based) and intelligibility (structurally based). conclusion of. the more prominently it can elevate in relation to the city’s other landmarks (most directly) and edges (less directly). Edges and landmarks. 1960 MEMORABILITY . Measurable components of memorability include contextual distinctiveness (how much does it stand out from or define its surroundings?) and visual or experiential exceptionality (how remarkable does it look or feel?). these three categories might help locate sites within a city but they are rarely malleable from an isolated site. Paths. Paths describe routes and thoroughfares that connect important parts of the city. Importantly for this study. district. node. a city needs to be visually and structurally legible. the only way to significantly adjust them is to manipulate the whole system at a macro scale well beyond the range of a typical. 16 Kevin Lynch. uncommonly huge sites). two metrics which combine to determine its overall legibility. The degree to which a site achieves landmark (memorable in and of itself) or edge (memorable as the articulated introduction to. and districts are spatial urban components that primarily operate in a part-to-whole relationship with each other and the overall structure of the city. Landmarks are memorable articulations in the urban fabric that episodically contribute to an individual’s mental conception of the city. establish or substantially adjust a path (because they run well before and beyond a site’s extents). or otherwise boundary to something coherently notable [the site’s own boundary about itself could achieve edge status by this definition]) could be called its “memorability. node (because being a node is contingent on occupying a significant location relative to a broader network). on the other hand. The Image of the City.


A highly subjective metric. Great Streets. imagination and inspiration are involved. Put perhaps over-simply. Christopher Alexander has already provided a measure for incremental development and the conservation of physical history so Jacobs shall contribute a more difficult but arguably more important measure: the magnitude of “magic” in an urban space. ones that were based on not only an acceptance but also a desire for and love of urban life. Tabla rasa strategies dominated the city beautiful movement to a moderate extent and the modernist movement to the extreme.Previous eras in urban design history saw preponderances of heavyhanded approaches to the production of quality public urban spaces. ones that saw incremental physical change and conservation as more desirable than massive clearance of what existed. the space is more than simply well-designed: it is magical. 18 Allan Jacobs. of encountering people in healthy environments. it elicits a magically transcendent experience.” He stresses a need to stoke desire for urban life that can only be achieved by preserving. Though Jacobs speaks in terms of streets. incrementing. Sorcery and charm. To whatever extent possible. “There is magic on great streets. an effect he calls “magic”. and may be the most crucial ingredients. and layering within the city. good places elevate people on both personal and social levels. not bulldozing and rebuilding on top of it. his core idea is readily transferrable: through their incrementally layered complexity. It is more than putting all of the required qualities on a street.” He goes on to discuss great urban spaces’ impact on a social public: “beyond functional purposes of permitting people to get from one place to another and to gain access to property.” Not only can the space cause one to transcend his or her personal banalities. and presumably in their making. He contends that a great street (or public urban space) does more than just comfortably transmit passers-through. transcendental cues and triggers shall be documented and speculatively analyzed. it seems capable of transporting the collective citizenry into a mood of communal brotherhood. If transcendence accompanies utility. Allan Jacobs retrospectively protests: “better models than these were in order: ones not so dependent on central power and ownership and design. desirable things that contribute to them. it might be practically defined as what experientially and/or socially emerges from a great space in addition to comfort. help build community. his rhetoric seems to generally accommodate other types of public urban spaces too. cause people to act and interact. and it is more than having a few or many of the physical. 1993 MAGIC . streets – most assuredly the best streets – can and should help to do other things: bring people together. However ultimately utopian Jacobs’ notion may sometimes seem. designers thought the best way to improve a place was to gut it or wipe it clean altogether and then start over from scratch. to achieve together what they might not alone.

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the seats must not only be in view but also in reach of potential sitters: less accessible facilities find themselves less used. William Whyte developed strategies for evaluating and improving such interactivityenabling infrastructure. In sum. The Social Life of Small Public Spaces. Variables include size (big enough for one person. Because each space is unique. Double-sided seats should be a full “two backsides deep” to ensure both sides are simultaneously usable. the less welcoming it effectively becomes. second. In addition to compiling the above quantifications. It is most immediately important that sitting places be visible to passersby. seat types need to vary across the site to provide for the public’s varied wants and needs. seat-type heterogeneity supports more diverse breeds of seated socialization.” Obviously. 20 William Whyte. and observe the seating ensemble’s actual usage to determine overall interactivity-fostering success. tucked out of the way). People tend to avoid seats shorter than one foot or taller than three. the space should be observed to ascertain exactly how the public actually uses its seats. functionality (static.To foster social interactivity. and variety of sitting places. observing and documenting how people use the seats and how the seats facilitate social interactivity. material). first. movable/adjustable) and public exposure (along thoroughfare.the more private a surface seems (or is). assessing a place’s sittability involves. seat plenitude ensures everyone who wants to sit and socialize can. There should be about one linear foot of sitting space per thirty square feet of plaza area. bigger group). accessibility. two people. style. There are three phases to Whyte’s process: assess the visibility. 1980 SITTABILITY . Finally. “if people do not see a space. measure the dimensional suitability of each seat. As Whyte writes. an urban space needs the physical infrastructure necessary to accommodate actors in the first place. climate (sun/shade. Put simply: an urban space cannot become sociable if it doesn’t have the facilities about which to socialize – people won’t sit and talk to each other if there’s nowhere to sit! Informed by a career of first-hand observation and measurement. urbanistically characterizing and dimensionally inventorying available seats and. aesthetics (shape. generalized rules of thumb alone cannot fully predict particular sittability and associated interactivity – locally specific factors also hold a strong hand. windy/calm). Whyte offers a few dimensional and mathematical rules of thumb to assess sittability amongst seats. Accessibility also involves the percieved (and actual) publicness of the sitting place . Quantifiably. they will not use it.

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” That is not to say architecture cannot contribute to the experiential. the conditions offered for long-lasting outdoor activities play the decisive role. single-family housing examples (namely by a lucid sociological link between the shrouded innards of the house. and more rewarding than any combination of architectural ideas. “life between buildings is richer. the establishment of good connections between indoors and outdoors combined with good resting places in front of the buildings must be a matter of course. urban design is more about the dynamic activities occurring within the public realm that it is about the built quality of the space (buildings. Gehl would have the designer take steps to avoid precluding it. soft edges “link indoors and outdoors – functionally and psychologically. Of course. 1980 SOFT EDGES . Ideally. which are more frequent but fleeting in duration). the semi-public porch and yard. vitality (observed activation). work. such as when bad design engenders bad urbanism (by squandering the potential for good urban life).). “Inevitably. and social value of an urban environment – merely that quality urban life trumps quality urban infrastructure amongst a sensitive designer’s priorities. 22 Jan Gehl. cultural. single-story. and flexibility (range of stationary activities and their relationship to adjacent/integrated coming-and-going activities). etc. there is a relationship between good design and good urban life – in America.Ultimately. this is most commonly demonstrated negatively. physical amenities. depth (degree to which inside and outside connect/merge). but for the scope and character of life between buildings. he stresses designing to promote stationary activities that are more prolonged and entrench people deeper into the urban setting (in contrast to coming and going activities.” writes Jan Gehl. Gehl writes. These are spaces that flank and/or permeate buildings where people can settle. To ensure an urban space retains the capacity for quality urbanism. eat. more stimulating. His concept of “soft edges” involves providing certain architectural layers and complexities that enable certain types of activities. and the entirely public street) but contends the concept holds true across urban topologies: “everywhere people walk to and from city functions. leading to a desirably active and rich urban environment and society. Specifically.” Extant soft edges shall be documented and then evaluated according to their frequency (hard edge to soft edge ratio).” He demonstrates this connection with dense. Life Between Buildings. and otherwise sit and meld into the urban place.” “Soft edges” are what really foster public-realm occupation and interaction. “Of course it is important that conditions for walking to and from buildings are good and comfortable. or where the functions stay outdoors.

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Everyday Urbanism. and so on seemingly ad infinitum. the urban environment’s physical and spatial elements might be discretely and singularly classifiable: each individual element has a sole purpose and a sole use. protesters. they acquire constantly changing meanings – social. spaces that support multiplicity are likely socially healthier than spaces that inhibit. She nicely describes the phenomenon: “these spaces exist physically somewhere in the junctures between private. They contain multiple and constantly shifting meanings rather than clarity of function. Unrestricted by the dictates of built form. economic – as users reorganize and reinterpret them. such as when street vendors and yard sale proprietors set up shop in spaces not designed for or anticipating such activity. Apparently empty of meaning. 24 Margaret Crawford. they become venues for the expression of new meanings through the individuals and groups who appropriate the spaces for their own purposes. performers. commercial. In the absence of a distinct identity of their own. Ambiguous and unstable. animals. and domestic. The evaluation will consider the following questions: how heterogeneous is the built environment? How well does or might it support activities it wasn’t specifically designed for? How heterogeneous is the user population? How drastically does the population compositionally shift throughout the day. political. 1999 MULTIPLICITY . they blur our established understandings of these categories in often-paradoxical ways. or condemned? Ultimately. tolerated. Once the urban element leaves the drawing board and enters the public realm. however.” Not only does use and activity change in a space overtime. inhabit it. its relationship to the people of that real realm constantly changes and contradicts. aesthetic. Multiplicity can describe a far broader set of phenomena incited by actors as varied as skateboarders. their relationship to the space. and populate it according to their personal perceptions and understandings of themselves. one quickly understands Margaret Crawford’s contention that most urban spaces exhibit “multiplicity of simultaneous public activities […] that are continually redefining both ‘public’ and ‘space’ through lived experience. the very meaning of the space shifts and multiplies as more people interpret it. subjectively interpret a given space’s potential for multiplicity. the true nature of a space is defined by the people that inhabit it and the activities they incite. Observing things in reality over time. through observation and speculation. and the space’s relationship to the rest of the city. these spaces can be shaped and redefined by the transitory activities they accommodate. or year? How public is the space (as opposed to controlled and/or private)? Is spontaneity or deviation from the norm (if there is a prescribed or officially programmed norm) encouraged. homeless people. Many of Crawford’s examples of multiplicity involve informal commerce. This study shall. joggers.From a designer’s standpoint. week. Indeed.


three case studies will now test the resultant metrics’ measurability and applicability to the design and evaluation of existing urban sites.The literature review having digested the nine authors and translated their work into singular concepts. they are all centrally and importantly located with the potential heavy usage. CASE STUDIES The three sites are similar in many ways to maintain comparability but different in enough ways to ensure different results for each. surrounded by the region’s most significant skyscrapers and filled with representatives from its top and bottom socioeconomic classes. Woodruff Park sits in the city’s physical and symbolic heart. Located within a few blocks of Peachtree Street. The High Museum plaza is unique in that it does not directly front a street and its surrounding institutions largely determine its activity. All three are smaller than a block and immediately bordered on at least one side by building facades. INTEGRATION Metric reach Directional reach ORGANICNESS Average age Age Range SERIAL VISION Qualitative Assessment EYES ON THE STREET Visibility MEMORABILITY Key feature MAGIC Qualitative Assessment SITTABILITY Area per seat # Seat types SOFT EDGES Depth MULTIPLICITY Qualitative Assessment 26 . Centergy Plaza exists at the mixeduse threshold between Georgia Tech and the rest of the city but does not itself contain any particularly important civic or cultural institutions or landmarks.

The following case studies demonstrate how these metrics might be measured and/or observed. the case studies’ metrics are organized by scale (urban to personal) on the first order and objectivity (most to least) on the second. areas of blue are visible from the least [relatively]). Soft edges involves roughly counting the occupiable layers between street or plaza and building interior (or wall face). darker grays indicate older).Like the literature review. Serial vision is represented by a series of views from a path mapped on the site plan. Multiplicity involves reporting observed or speculated spontaneity and documenting the spatial features that enabled and/or accommodated it. At the architectural scale. This paper’s subsequent and final section considers how this work might inform policy. At the urban scale. Measuring organicness involves mapping the sites’ neighboring buildings and coloring them according to their age (light grays indicate younger buildings. integration is quantified by space syntax GIS software (red lines indicate the most integrated streets and street segments. At the personal scale. 27 . dark blue lines are the least). Magic is represented by photo details supporting a subjective account. eyes on the street is quantified by space syntax Depthmap software (areas of red are visible from the most points on the plan. Memorability involves representing the site’s most distinctive and place-orienting feature. sittability is quantified by counting the seats and calculating how many square feet the site contains per seat provided.

the plaza in front of the High Museum of Art’s newest annex sits in the middle of Atlanta’s premier cultural campus. and an outdoor cafe. a theater. Part of a recent addition to the Woodruff Arts complex. and surrounded by highrise office buildings and condos. an art college. a bar. Often dressed to advertise or celebrate current exhibitions. CASE STUDY 1 Metric reach = 33. the site is well served by transit. a few blocks east of I-75/85.25 INTEGRATION ORGANICNESS Average age = 21 Age Range = 34 SERIAL VISION Spatially dynamic EYES ON THE STREET Avg/max visibility = 75% Public art installation(s) MEMORABILITY Transparency MAGIC Area per seat = 442 ft2 Seat types = 2 SITTABILITY Average edge = 2 layers SOFT EDGES MULTIPLICITY Scant 28 .8 Directional reach = 2. In addition to the museum. The plaza is most populated when new exhibits open at the museum. but people also pass through and congregate in conjunction with visits to the other adjacent institutions. the plaza sometimes supports banners. or performers in and about its bounds.HIGH MUSEUM PIAZZA Located within the northern half of the city’s midtown neighorhood. adjacent to Peachtree Street (the city’s flagship thorougfare). the complex includes symphony hall. sculptures.

From there. the plaza enjoys moderate organicness by virtue of the institutions’ relatively longstanding history in this place. this plaza’s serial experience is very spatially dynamic. The stair’s space is constricted but ends facing the glassy cafe and opens into the exposed plaza. the space extends across grass. ivy-lined stair corridor. 2002 D. 1983 C. terminating at Peachtree Street. High Museum. along the Meier wing’s blocky facade. 1968 B. 2002 Average building age = 21 years Building age range = 34 years SERIAL VISION: Especially when entering via the narrow. Note: this plaza is blocked from street view by museum buildings. Symphony Hall.8 miles) but. 29 . buildings. have been added to the campus in an increasingly varied assembly of structures and styles. potentially imparing actual integration values. High Addition. like much of the city. URBAN 1 ORGANICNESS: Though surrounded by a single institution (or family of institutions). and past diverse sculptures. The 1-mile metric reach of its bounding streets (left) is very high (33.INTEGRATION: The plaza resides in a dense urban district of high integration (relative to the rest of the city). A. directional reach (right) is low (2. often of architectural notoriety. Over the years.25). Table 1280.

once inside the plaza itself. juxtaposing art and skyline.563 Average visibility = 425 Avg/Max = 75% MAGIC: The plaza’s most poignant sense of magic comes from the new museum’s almost totally transparent first floor along the plaza’s west and north edges.EYES ON THE STREET: Though hardly visible from the street (especially because of intervening topography not captured by the map on the right). This Lichenstein house a permanent installation and probably most vividly characterizes the space. With the exception of some corners and corridors. 30 . The effect is masked by reflective glare from the plaza’s center. Occassionally the plaza contains other works that temporarily distinguish its experience. the plaza is geometrically quite rectilinear and without significant blind spots. creating a feeling of containment. visibility levels are moderately high. ARCHITECTURAL 1 MEMORABILITY: The architecture surrounding the plaza is monochromatic and formally subdued. giving memorable attention over to the artworks displayed on the grounds within. Visibility range = 23 . But approaching the facade reveals uncannily clear views across the museum floor and to the city beyond.

Cafe seating Walkway Storefront 3 layers Covered walkway Storefront 2 layers Queue Entry 2 layers Storefront 1 layer 31 . 88 total seats 38. the plaza often hosts temporary art installations and outdoor events.SITTABILITY: All seats in the plaza are chairs around tables (4 chairs around each table). The plaza tables are grouped under trees but can be rearranged more freely. The plaza’s adjacent lawn provides the only other potential sitting option. activity in the museum lobby is only varies from normal docility when exhibits first open or during private events. entry queues. The only other softening elements include seating areas. the plaza does not foster much usage multiplicity. clearly visible from the plaza.they are for restaurant patrons only.900 ft2 442 ft2/seat 2 seat types PERSONAL 1 SOFT EDGES: If not for its generously glazed groundfloor walls and externally visible internal exhibits (plus the western view through the building to the city beyond). 13 cafe tables 4 chairs/table 52 seats 9 plaza tables 4 chairs/table 36 seats MULTIPLICITY: School groups appropriate an otherwise relatively unused lawn. The cafe tables are set with silverware and roped off from the rest of the plaza . and spare. covered walkways. the plaza’s edges would be quite hard. Overall.

8 Age Range = 2 SERIAL VISION Visually dynamic EYES ON THE STREET Avg/max visibility = 89% MEMORABILITY “You are here” map Extensive groves MAGIC Area per seat = 270 ft2 Seat types = 3 SITTABILITY Average edge = 3. The plaza’s north side is predominantly populated by office workers walking in and out of the office buildings. Since the recent completion of the widened 5th Street bridge. The future calls for more high-tech office development in the vacant lots just north of the site which would likely affect how the plaza functions.5 INTEGRATION ORGANICNESS Average age = 6. with Centergy plaza providing the district’s largest open space apart from the fields on the bridge itself.CENTERGY PLAZA Located just across I-75/85 from Georgia Tech’s main campus in midtown Atlanta. Tech Square has become the university’s front door. CASE STUDY 2 Metric reach = 24. restaurants. The plaza’s 5th street frontage supports the most use and population diversity.5 Directional reach = 44. a heavily used east-west sidewalk. Surrounded by high-tech offices.5 layers SOFT EDGES MULTIPLICITY Controlled 32 . the area is heavily trafficked by a diverse population most days. and a number of restarants and cafes. and other services. Centergy plaza comprises a central position within the relatively new Tech Square redevelopment district. university functions. with a Tech Trolley stop.

its directional reach is exceptionally high relative to the rest of the city (an effect of the grid). While its 1-mile metric reach is high (44. it is unlikely this place will accrue organicness (unless part of the block is replaced or drastically changed in the future. though there is some scalar variation. a constricting view down a staircase toward the parking deck affords a narrow vista of Midtown towers and vacant lots . 2002 Average building age = 6.5). this value would be even higher. 2003 D. 2003 B. Because the plaza is entirely surrounded by structures of a common vintage. Centergy plaza is very integrated into the urban fabric infrastructurally. Tech Square is highly inorganic.) A. Moving to the northwest corner.INTEGRATION: Located amidst midtown Atlanta’s street grid. 33 . GT. Centergy Office Buildings. GT School of Management. 2003 C. The buildings around the plaza share the same style and materials. URBAN 2 ORGANICNESS: Built all at once.a sharp contrast to Tech Square’s mid-rise built-out persona. Global Learning Center. Midcity Lofts.8 years Building age range = 2 years SERIAL VISION: Varied shading conditions promote a diverse visual palette as one passes from covered arcade to tree-lined bench rows to bright open plaza center. If 5th Street did not dead end at West Peachtree Street two blocks to the east.

People seem unusually pleasant and happy in this generously shrouded condition. the extensive tree plantings inspire a somewhat magical ambience. If a wider view-shed penetrated the office building along the plaza’s northern edge. the plaza contains no blind spots except along the northern stairs leading down to the rear driveway. Visibility range = 147 . Part of an arbitrarily detailed urban system. 34 .477 Average visibility = 423 Avg/Max = 89% MAGIC: Though not particularly powerful.little memorarbly stands out here. the space would become much redder relative to nearby intersections and corridors (see area map at right). especially on a sunny day when the open plaza is oppressively exposed and vacant but the shady grove is pleasantly cool and well-populated.EYES ON THE STREET: Highly open to the street and geometrically uncomplicated. the place must provide a map to position itself within the city . the map’s “you are here” marker orients the passerthrough in relation to a prescribed collection of civic and corporate landmarks in place of a personal set. ARCHITECTURAL 2 MEMORABILITY: A visually generic and uninspiring physical environment.

they are very controlled and rarely sponteneous.100 ft2 270 ft2/seat 3 seat types PERSONAL 2 SOFT EDGES: The edges around Centergy Plaza are very thick and complex. there is a good variety of seats. 115 total seats 31. and storefronts. Office workers mingle during cigarette breaks and students congregate while eating or waiting for the Trolley. Covered walkway Lobby entrance 2 layers Benches Landscape Arcade Storefront 4 layers Benches Landscape Cafe Storefront 4 layers Storefront Arcade Bike parking Landscape 4 layers 35 . which provide various shade conditions and are thus used heavily. arcades.SITTABILITY: Benches line the plaza’s interior and a cafes and fastfood eateries line its front corners with tables and chairs. a multi-modal. along with periodic events of other sorts. 1 picnic table 2 chairs/table 2 seats 11 benches 3 seats/bench 33 seats 20 cafe tables 4 chairs/table 80 seats MULTIPLICITY: The wine bar hosts live jazz outdoors occassionally. landscaping. At midday. mixed-use tableau ensures activity variety. especially among the benches. landscaping also educates the passerby and improves the owning corporation’s image. the trees within the landscape layer generate a shade gradient from bright at plaza center to dark along the storefronts. The central plaza is rung with benches. Bike parking and cafes also intersperse at places. While the plaza often bustles with diverse activities and uses. Overall. emphasizing the edges’ deep softness.

This particular stretch of Peachtree Street is one of the corridor’s most active and dynamic. passing police officer. the park is full of lunching office workers. The space is auditorily characterized by the mix of traffic noise with the waterfall’s steady roar. Centered just south of the site. and the homeless. During the day.3 INTEGRATION ORGANICNESS Average age = 56 Age Range = 105 Varied views against constant feature SERIAL VISION EYES ON THE STREET Avg/max visibility = 98% MEMORABILITY Vast waterfall wall Cooling water’s roar MAGIC Area per seat = 202 ft2 Seat types = 1 SITTABILITY Average edge = 2.WOODRUFF PARK Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. or sleeping homeless person. resting pedestrians. At night the park is all but empty. including major hotels.5 Directional reach = 19. A long waterfall wall flanks the park’s east side and a shady grid of trees and benches fills most of its north half. tourists. save a wandering tourist. and countless eateries (many mainly open only for lunch). CASE STUDY 3 Metric reach = 57. tourist venues. and congregating homeless people. the growing Georgia State University adds increasing student volumes to an area characterized by white collar workers. street vendors.5 layers SOFT EDGES MULTIPLICITY Liberal 36 . this northern portion of Woodruff Park is surrounded by some of the city’s most important corporate offices and historic architecture.

1968 Average building age = 55. 1971 D. the plaza is surrounded by some of the region’s most significant urban edifaces. This might be one of Atlanta’s most architecturally rich and organic environments. A. Georgia-Pacific Plaza. Candler Building.5). Its directional reach (19. GSU. every view from this section of Woodruff Park includes a different part of Atlanta’s diverse skyline. Aderhold Learning Center. Equitable Building. cannot avoid including the plaza’s primary feature. 37 . Suntrust Bank Building.3) probably registers lower than it should: the westerly blocks’ apparent angularity on these maps suggests the GIS data used for the analysis was inaccurate (blocks are much more square in reality). 2002 F. however.INTEGRATION: Centrally located within the city’s most integrated district. Each vista. 1983 C. Starting from the southeast corner. 1897 E. 1906 B.5 years Building age range = 105 years SERIAL VISION: Set in the city’s heart. URBAN 3 ORGANICNESS: Located at the city’s center. move along the water’s edge in the open sun until the shady gridded grove where diverse people rest. a long waterfall wall. from the 19th century Flatiron Building to the modernist Equitable Building to contemporary Georgia State additions. Woodruff Park achieves a very high 1-mile metric reach value (57. Flatiron Building.

the plaza can be completely observed from almost every vantage except around its northern and southern corners. Thus.393 Average visibility = 386 Avg/Max = 98% MAGIC: Dominated by the waterfall’s roar. the plaza is both isolating and democratizing in magical simultaneity. 38 . and creates a memorable atmosphere in which to pause and socialize. a diverse population can “silently” share the same. and without tall visual obstructions. the long waterfall along the back edge frames and characterizes the entire space. The sparkling. Visibility range = 78 . The tree grove might be the only section potentially containing blind spots. provides a unique backdrop to passing figures. cool space in peace and relaxation. Because of its wide openness. roaring wall foregrounds the city’s impressive skyline. one can always see almost everyone occupying the plaza but can never hear anyone unless very near them.EYES ON THE STREET: Geometrically simple. almost totally flat. ARCHITECTURAL 3 MEMORABILITY: Easily the plaza’s defining feature.

layered as follows: street.300 ft2 202 ft2/seat 1 seat type PERSONAL 3 SOFT EDGES: The plaza’s edges are characterized by water on one side. landscaping flanked by sidewalk on the other. the seating accommodates enough different sorts of activities to transcend its formal homogeneity. 125 total seats 25. Located at a key intersection downtown. Tree line Bench Pool 3 layers Sidewalk Bench Landscaping 3 layers Sidewalk Bench Landscaping 3 layers Pool 1 layer 39 . sidewalk. Centrally located and accommodatingly designed. benches. and the heavily shaded. Uniform benches along pool and amongst trees ~125 seats MULTIPLICITY: The water’s edge accomodates small scale meetings and snacks. landscaping. this plaza enables much multiplicity. eat. including the monthly Critical Mass bike ride starting line. benches. and a continuous bench/ledge all around.SITTABILITY: The only seat type in this section of Woodruff Park is the well-dimensioned linear bench system that runs along the waterfall and amongst the trees. the entire plaza could be considered a large-scale urban edge. open. Wide enough to sit. water. the southern expanse hosts civic gatherings. well-benched interior accommodates congenial homeless congregations. trees. or sleep on.

40 . the metrics should be used to clarify current conditions or gauge the effects of potential changes to the current given condition. the same score for a metric might prove favorable for one site but not for another. these sites are not necessarily directly comparable nor should one be deemed better than another simply because it scored more favorably according to a particular metric. and then re-run the analysis to see how the change affects the social and experiential nature of the site. not in relation to each other. Instead. Each metric’s measurement depends on so many variously contingent factors that a comparison based on these metrics alone – especially a judgmental comparison – would hardly be tenable. the urban designer learns in transferrable detail how design decisions affect the life of a space. The case studies are meant to help elucidate the sites on their own terms.The three preceding case studies demonstrate how the literature review’s metrics apply and result in real places. A designer could run the analysis. Furthermore. CASE STUDY SUMMARY One word of caution: though similarly studied. make (or propose) a change. By connecting perceived social and experiential phenomena with the physical space that produces. or otherwise accommodates it. This utilization method informs the study’s potential policy implications as outlined in the following pages. inhibits. enables.

If. CURRENT BUILDING REGULATION AGENCIES AND PROCESSES At a project’s planning outset. 41 POLICY IMPLICATIONS . Having outlined and evaluated their project’s environmental impact early in the design process. the EPA requires that the lead development party prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.This study has potentially powerful policy implications: if the mapping and analysis process demonstrated by these three case studies was required of all designers and developers at the outset of their project’s planning phase. fire departments verify plans on the drawing boards support fire safety. it is likely their projects would consequentially incur more favorable social and experiential characteristics. environmental consequences might never have crossed their minds and the project might have ended up an ecological blight. built product. and federally approved). and so on. at the beginning of a redevelopment project). ADA requirements govern accessibility. The urban design field needs a similar regulatory evaluation system to ensure designers adequately accommodate the city’s social and experiential needs and wants – call it an Experiential Impact Statement. at the beginning of a development project (or maybe. s/he would more than likely incorporate what that process illuminated about the site’s social and experiential conditions and potentials into subsequent design phases and into the final. Engineering bodies regulate structural and topographical issues to ensure the building sits in the ground and stands up properly. a designer was required to consider and document the metrics described here (and more). The Environmental Impact Statement process mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) operates in this way: by forcing designers to engage with certain issues at the design’s first phase ensures the final design will satisfactorily respond to the issues after implementation. Preparing this document requires the developers to outline the project’s environmental consequences and confront these realities well before the project is built or even very extensively planned (to move forward with the planning process. Other regulating agencies also require such preliminary project studies to ensure their particular concerns are accommodated before construction begins. the developer becomes compelled to adjust their later design concepts to avoid potential negative impacts uncovered by the Environmental Impact Statement process. publicly vetted. banks confirm financing solvency. more aptly. Had the developers been spared this process. a project’s early-stage Environmental Impact Statement must be meticulously assembled.

Form based codes and other building codes more formal than basic zoning laws come closer to governing a project’s experience and influencing its design accordingly at early concept development stages. The procedure would involve mapping and analyzing the project’s site and its surroundings with various quantitative and qualitative methods to ensure the designers are cognizant of the myriad social and experiential consequences of their work. But. and other general development aspects. conforming to zoning does not require engaging with the project’s potential experiential or social impact. The resultant document would resemble something like an extended version 42 . all the designer must do is follow the code to comply – s/he is never compelled to actively engage with the project’s impact on the social and experiential phenomena. their ruling only indirectly influences the project’s actual design process – they are not on the team that conceives the project in the first place so their often highly valid and applicably informed concerns are therefore not embedded in the project’s design. in their deliberations. buildable area. but again. They consider whether a proposal conforms to their vision of the place it is slated to inhabit and.But who regulates urban design? More specifically. There doesn’t seem to be an agency or process that ensures urban designers are taking social and experiential issues into account during their project’s initial design phases – the most critical time to influence a development process. setbacks. Design review boards are highly project-specific and contextual in their evaluation. even if the code was written to protect or promote a certain experience or social agenda. urban designers could be required to complete an Experiential Impact Statement at or near the beginning of their schematic design stage. again. they likely consider the project’s possible social and experiential consequences in addition to its physical and formal impact. who regulates the social experience of urban design projects? CURRENT URBAN DESIGN REGULATION AGENCIES AND PROCESSES Zoning controls land uses. but while zoning is one of the first limiters checked during the early design phase. EXPERIENTIAL IMPACT STATEMENT Just as developers of large enough projects are required by the EPA to complete an Environmental Impact Statement early in the design process. Perhaps it is time for an Environmental Impact Statement of sorts tailored to address these urban design concerns.

Perhaps this knowledge would inform their building’s footprint or orientation. This would contribute to the overall urban experience by encouraging symbolic relationships between structures old and new about the city. solicited by a request for proposal. and/or demanded by a client. ensuring they keep social and experiential issues at their attentions’ fore. The Experiential Impact Statement could be mandated by the city. recognized by clients and even. They might see their project as another piece of the longstanding urban puzzle instead of a discrete investment manifestation in a vacuum. the Experiential Impact statement process could positively influence urban design projects’ social and experiential qualities in the following ways: INTEGRATION One of the more straightforward metrics. However ultimately implemented. 43 ORGANICNESS . Having researched the origins and histories of neighboring sites and structures. More educational tool than regulating device. With an idea how their project’s vicinity has developed over time. presented to the general public. This process would help them understand where their site resides within the city’s network of integrated and not-so-integrated mobility channels. designers would become equipped to engage their surrounding historical context. It might also inform how they perforate their site with public open space and passages – they could knowingly capitalize on potentially important routes alongside and/or through their project (or at least avoid disrupting them). they might feel more compelled to engage that built heritage (whereas they might have otherwise ignored it).of one of this paper’s case studies and would help guide the designers as they develop their project. the document and its production process is not intended to strictly regulate urban design outcomes – instead it simply needs to be part of the design and development process to ensure the issues it exposes are addressed by designers. the designers of a project subject to the Experiential Impact Statement would run the GIS analysis on their site and its environs as demonstrated by this paper’s case studies. in some cases. They would learn sociospatial importance of the streets binding their site and the streets connecting their site to the rest of the city.

designers would have to represent their sites and proposals with series of images that emphasize the dynamic experience incurred by passing through and/or past it. A difficult metric to measure. stakeholders and citizens can more directly vet their attention-grabbing strategy to be sure it contributes to the city’s overall system of landmarks and icons. This tool makes it easy to see exactly where troublesome corners might exist and it helps the city specifically recommend where design adjustments should be made. the image series more faithfully expresses the multi-angled reality of a space as seen moving through space and time. On one hand. On the other hand. if asked to report exactly how they plan to memorably mark their project before too many plans are drawn. designers may quickly quantify and visualize the visual range from all points and ascertain where people might or might not feel exposed or secluded. safe or vulnerable.Instead of generating a single money-shot perspective to promote their projects. they might be more inclined to preserve existing points of heritage. Whereas the money-shot represents a single moment from a single vantage that isn’t always honestly portrayed. if. while preliminarily surveying and scouting their site. This helps the designer consider the users’ extended experience of the project (rather than just a single view at a single moment) and it helps stakeholders realize more precisely what effect the project will have on its part of their city. Perhaps the designer would even be asked to place their site and their proposal within that system to prove it participates appropriately in the monumental dialogue. Required to run the Depth Map isovist analysis on their sites and proposals as demonstrated in this paper’s case studies. designers were required to acknowledge and document the particularly memorable and distinctive aspects in and surrounding it. perhaps the designers would simply be asked 44 SERIAL VISION EYES ON THE STREET MEMORABILITY MAGIC .

week. ANALYITICAL GESTALT OR CATCH 22 In a perfect world. If asked to explain their approach to and/or understanding of the site’s building edges.) to satisfy typical. chairs. heterogeneous demand. By comparing the number of users (or expected users) to the space’s reflect in a statement about the potential for magic around the site and comment on how they might work to enhance (or at least not detract from) it. designers subject to the above gauntlet would. etc. Perhaps the designers would be required to execute a documentary study of the site and its environs during the early design phases to observe and report the complete variety of activity the area contains and supports around the clock. Providing a planned seating schedule would help ensure the space will include an adequate variety of seat types (benches. the authorities can confirm that the project will be sufficiently porous and epidermally activated given surrounding conditions and precedent. designers can pragmatically ensure they are including enough seats to fill demand. it helpfully encourages the designers to consider all hours of the day. sun. MULTIPLICITY SOFT EDGES SITTABILITY 45 . loud. etc. and year as they imagine how their project will be occupied. ledges. water. By providing schematic sections documenting the layers they intend to introduce early in the design process. in turn.) in enough environmental conditions (shade. It is unreasonable to require every building to create magic (or memorability for that matter). Recognizing or at least acknowledging the potential for spontaneity and dynamism might help expand the designers’ imagination about what all their project might be able to accommodate. but the designers should at least be made aware of its presence and/or possibility. seating studies would ensure designers are providing adequate sitting conditions for the people inhabiting the space. quiet. While this metric might not be directly measurable. Another very straightforward and practical device. tables. designers will be forced to engage the visual and physical boundaries of their structures. produce projects that embody the best of what each metric seeks to ascertain.

in a particular case. It is not this study’s purpose to make sure all sites pass all tests. For example. the study and its metrics simply hope to expand the ways and means by which designers analyze their site and anticipate their proposals’ effects.Realistically. AND ADVANCE THIS STUDY This study should be used as a model to inform a more sophisticated and comprehensive process of urban design analysis and evaluation. this study should be used to expand the design imagination and help ensure the new project fosters social and experiential richness. this study should be used to evaluate preexisting social and experiential conditions and then measure how proposed redevelopments will influence and interact with what surrounds and came before them. excelling according to one metric directly entails floundering according to another. it might become clear that few sites and/or designers can positively deliver on all fronts. There are always more authors’ perspectives to include and more ways to measure and/or document the expandable set of quantitative and qualitative metrics. Recommended next steps include further vetting the study by applying it to more places elsewhere in the world and expanding it into a policy initiative intent on positively influencing urban design development and enriching the public evaluation process of urban project proposals (akin to the Experiential Impact Statement concept introduced above). In the latter case. Instead. certain labyrinthine site conditions might promote “serial vision” but inhibit “eyes on the street”. 46 . DEVELOP. REDEVELOPMENT VERSUS NEW DEVELOPMENT The spectrum of urban design project types runs from minimal redevelopment within mature urban fabric (such as revising a downtown plaza) to entirely new developments separate from existing urban structure (such as a new city or district built from scratch). HOW TO USE. In the former case. however. after running the analytical gamut. Perhaps.

Crawford. The Concise Townscape. Jacobs. 1960. Whyte. Life Between Buildings. Great Streets. Jan. Jane. 1971. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1987. MA: MIT Press. 47 . and Julienne Hanson. Margaret. Cullen. Gehl. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. Kevin. 1961. Jacobs. The Social Logic of Space. MA: Technology Press. Washington DC: Conservation Foundation. BIBLIOGRAPHY Lynch. Hillier.. Allan. Bill. William.Alexander. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Cambridge. 1984. Cambridge. New York: Random House. Christopher. Denmark: Bianco Lunos Bogtrykkeri. 1999. 1993. New York: Monacelli Press. Everyday Urbanism. A New Theory of Urban Design. 1980. The Social Life of Small Public Spaces. 1980. New York: Oxford University Press. The Image of the City. Gordon.

flickr. 48 .peripheralfocus.All images on pages 9-25 scanned from associated texts except the following: Page 9 Top and bottom: courtesy of Dr.jpg Page 17: Top: http://www. Georgia Tech IMAGE CREDITS Page 15 Top: http://www. John All other images produced by the Bottom:

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