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The Image of the City (Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies Series) Paperback – Import

ISBN-13: 978-0262620017 ISBN-10: 0262620014 Edition: 1ST

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The Image of the City (Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies Series) + The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces + The Hidden Dimension (Anchor Books a Doubleday Anchor Book)
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Product Details

  • Series: Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies Series
  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1ST edition (June 15, 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262620014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262620017
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a readable, tautly organized, authoritative volume..." Architectural Forum



"This small and readable book makes one of the most important modern contributions to large-scale design theory. David A. Crane Journal of the American Institute of Planners

About the Author

Kevin Lynch (1918-1984) studied with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin and later obtained a Bachelor of City Planning degree from MIT. After a long and distinguished career on the faculty of the MIT School of Architecture and Urban Planning, he was named Professor Emeritus of City Planning.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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The writing is concise, and the book short and accessible for the layperson.
R. Bono
I firmly believe that this book is a must read for anyone remotely interested in urban development and design.
Brandon P. Deneault
The book moves from these maps and observations and tries to develop rules of thumb for urban design.
Frank Frazier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Frank Frazier on December 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book describes mental maps obtained from residents in several cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and Jersey City. The mental maps were materialized on paper through an interview process and combined with maps from many individuals. And the results are surprising. Each map is a composite image of the city (and hence, the book's title) that reveals not only the character of the place, but gives you a feeling for it. In Boston for example, the streets are very disorganized, so people give directions by using landmarks almost exclusively. On the other hand, in Jersey City, with extremely uniform architecture, directions are given by street number and points of the compass. An unusual discovery concerns very long streets in Boston. They appear on the map with missing sections - these sections are totally invisible to the people interviewed. In many cases individuals were unaware that Washington street in one neighborhood is a continuation of Washington Street in another neighborhood. These blind spots affect how people move around, it affects the directions they give to others and it contributes or reinforces fears they may have about certain neighborhoods. The book moves from these maps and observations and tries to develop rules of thumb for urban design. People feel more comfortable and perhaps more anchored if they know where they are in space and in relation to visible landmarks. Some cities provide this comfort level more effectively than others - this book tries to find root causes. It's no wonder this is a classic.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John F. Dreha on July 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Given that this book was written in the 1950's, it is still relevent to current urban design thinking. It must have been very innovative in the 1950's.

Once the reader gets past the unusual layout of the book and the out of date language, there are many useful urban design concepts to be found in this little book.

Pathways, boundaries, disconnects and nodes are all discussed from varying points of view, using notable USA cities as examples.

One point of relevance is the statement that there is not one city in the USA that could be considered a great example of urban design (as stated in the 1950's). As an Australian, I could say the same of Australian cities. The Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane are terrible examples of urban sprawl. The north-south spread of Greater Sydney now covers almost 200 kilometres.

The principles stated in this book are still relevant to urban designers today.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mert Cubukcu on April 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
The urban setting is a composition of nodes, landmarks, paths, edges and districts, accorsing to Lynch. This physical summary of urban landscape may not be satisfactory for some. However, for others, including me, this book is a great help in forming a design perspective at the city level. It does not matter at all if you have just started forming your perspective or working on the final details. The book should be in your library, and the design guidelines should be in your mind, not only when designing a peace of urban space, but also when you are just wondering around.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
Kevin Lynch descibes the visual attributes of cities and towns, paying special attention to how we find our way around, how we build a mental image of these places. It is not only relevant to city dwellers, but to anyone interested in the subject of creating communities, real or virtual. A truly wonderful book, with lots of insightful drawings and images. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henry De la Cruz on October 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I really did. I had high hopes for this one. My lack of enthusiasm may have spawned from the fact that I read "Death and Life of Great American Cities" first. I know that the two should be reviewed on their own merits, or lack thereof, but I found that hard to do, even as I was reading. As I scrolled along the dry, boring prose, and pretended to be intrigued by one confusing chart after another, all I can think about was Jane Jacobs' beautiful prose which I found inspiring. This book is highly informative, should you be seeking bare-bones facts, and charts and field interviews, however outdated they might be. It does attempt to make a great argument about the city's need to provide the population with a sense of place, in which people know where they are, or what orientation they're in, or where the nearest landmark is, or whatever. The writer seems to have all that down all good and well, my biggest quibble is that while I was reading, I, myself, felt no sense of place. The writer casually name-drops intersections in L.A, Boston, and Jersey City I have no clue about, with me having to continually having to refer to one of the many maps in the book. I was waiting for the time when they'd be more objective, and come to some sort of conclusion about what works and what doesn't work. But no, they had to nip-pick at this corner in L.A, or that intersection in Jersey. The author doesn't really complain too much about Boston's historic district, or really in general. He seems to associate that with Bostonians having a clearer sense of place and ability to navigate around the city with ease. Maybe. That was the part where I waited for something non-chart related to appear... no dice.
Maybe I was expecting something else. No, wait, that's exactly my problem. I gave it 3 stars because I don't want to completely discredit the thing, now. There are many points made that may be relevant for anyone into urban studies. So, that's that.
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