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Film of the Month: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

Probably one of the most well-regarded films about urban planning is now available online.*

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, a 1979 documentary by William H. Whyte, explores the successes and failures of public spaces in New York City. It was made as part of a research effort spearheaded by The Street Life Project in conjunction with the Municipal Art Society of New York.

For Whyte, small urban places are “priceless,” and the city street is “the river of life…where we come together.” Whyte’s ideas are as relevant today as they were over 30 years ago, and perhaps even more so.

This film is a great example of how anthropological observation and the moving image can be used to learn about the living fabric of the city.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
Directed: William H. Whyte, USA, 1979, 58mins
Watch the full film here

*(This website says 1988 but the film was made in 1979 and made available with the book The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces published in 1980)

Posted in: Film Of The Month
Date: February 1, 2015