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Kevin Lynch

“The Image of the City”


Kevin Lynch
“The Image of the City”

Lynch’s goal?

• Combating Modernism’s unified, monolithic


depersonalized city through reasserting the human
role in the interpretation of the city.
“The Image of the City”
Kevin Lynch

Imageability:
that quality in a physical object which gives it
a high probability of evoking a strong image
in any given observer. It is that shape, color,
or arrangement which facilitates the making
of vividly identified, powerfully structured,
highly useful mental images of the
environment.
“The Image of the City”
Kevin Lynch

The city as ‘legible’ - coherent, organized into (and


around) clearly defined districts. The layout is easily
grasped by the citizen.
The elements of a city:
• Paths
• Edges
• Districts
• Nodes
• Landmarks
Paths

occasionally customarily
potentially
Paths
Paths
Continuity:

• Width

• Gradient

• Activity
Edges

B
o
u
n
d
a
r
i
e
s
Edges
Barriers
Edges

Breaks
Edges
• Fragment, tearing apart
• Seam, point of connection
Landmarks
Landmarks
• Singularity, uniqueness
• Contrast (small/big, new/old, dirty/clean)
• Familiarity breeds landmarks
• ‘Bottomless’ landmarks - navigation or
symbolic
Districts
Districts
• Have a common character/theme -
made up of texture, form, space, detail,
symbol, inhabitant, topography…
• You can mentally enter them
• Clearly defined districts lead to ‘good’
orientation (NYC)
• Often have strong cores, then taper
off…
Nodes
Nodes
• Junctions
• Moments of shift, ‘strategic foci’
• Related to the notion of journey
• Can also be a thematic concentration
Nodes
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