Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Whyte's key points in this chapter are that sitting space, functionality, and location are the determining factors of whether are plaza will succeed or fail. Furthermore, the type, height, and depth of seating are all considered in designing a successful plaza because there are certain ranges where people feel most comfortable. Also, location is important, but the plaza must also be visible to the passerbyer. If a plaza does not serve its function, it is doomed for failure.

The design factors (reflexive, visceral, and functional) all play key roles in the design of both urban spaces and consumer products. Both urban spaces and consumer products must give the user/consumer a good feel of the space/product whether it be reflexive, visceral, or functional. In some ways, functionality is more important in urban spaces because if it does not serve its function it will fail. This can also be true of a consumer product; however, this is only true for those that fall under the functional catagory.

My checklist, based on Whyte's ideas, that I would use to analyze an urban space would be as follows:
  • Seating -- is there enough, what kinds of seating are there (moveable, benches, ledges, stairs), height of seating (is it comfortable), depth of seating (deep enough for two, deep enough for one, comfortable depth), and size (keep enough distance between strangers).
  • Functionality -- does this plaza do what it is supposed to do (attract people to sit, eat, and socialize)
  • Location -- is this plaza located near the downtown area (how close is it).
  • Visibility -- can it be seen by passerbyers easily, not sunken or raised

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