William “Holly” Whyte in His Own Words, “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces” (1980)

In the late 1990s, as I began to produce videos advocating for bike-friendly initiatives and pedestrianized zones in New York City for cable television, I was unaware of William “Holly” Whyte and the significant influence his studies had on the city’s urban design. It was only after a few more years of involvement in the movement for livable streets that I expanded my network, which led to an encounter with Fred & Ethan Kent at Project for Public Spaces. The scene unfolds in an urban plaza bustling with activity, where an array of people are seated on colorful chairs, some engaged in conversation, others simply enjoying the day. Stalls with white canopies dot the perimeter, suggesting a market or public event. The presence of a silver clock sculpture towering above the seated individuals adds a touch of art to the everyday life of this community gathering spot.

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