Book1 – The image of the city

Book1 – The image of the city


Title The Image of the City
Volume 1 of Publications of the Joint Center for Urban Studies, Publications of the Joint Center for Urban Studies
Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies Series
Joint Centre for Urban studies
Volume 11 of M.I.T. Press paperback series
Publication of the Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University
Author Kevin Lynch
Edition 26, illustrated, reprint
Publisher MIT Press, 1960
ISBN 0262620014, 9780262620017
Length 202 pages





Week 1. 12th-20th of October 2012

The aim of the book

“districts/landmarks or pathways are easily identifiable + groupable.”



“Image of the city is soked in memories and meanings” P.1 last paragraph.


“Stable in general outline, ever changing in detail”

My purpose is to creat a Design Object which will allow to be soked by inhabitants with positive memories and meanings after it lefts a creative control. Set up general outline/flexibility in the detail of designed object might be a key essence as structure for something. Co-authur ship? Or able to customise of it throughout people’s activity?


“Not only for people with widely diversed class and character, but it is the product of many builders.” P.2 Paragraph 9

“A good environmental image gives its possesor an important sense of emotional security.” P.4 last paragraph

ON my project, “Landmark” can be a more small/daily products so far? for example, chair? car? Need to define which type of Landmarks are my targets.


“A good environmental image gives its possesor an important sense of emotional security.” P.4 last paragraph

At KX, inside of the changing environments, Are people losing their sense of emotional security? What is the affection on the local inhabitants through such a long term/massive urban re-generation at KX? Destroying urban rhythm? How “Public image of KX” is changing now?

Need to look at:

1. Current Public image

2. public image in past


“Complete Chaos without hint of connection is never pleasurable” P.4 last paragraph

What are the “Hints”? Searching “Hints” in urban environments for locals’ emotional security is the one of the key for this project.


What might be called the “pablic images,” the common mental pictures carried by large numbers of a city’s inhabitants? P7. 3rd Paragraph

One of my aim is to visualise the transforming public image to have more say to all commercial stakeholders.


Structure and Identity P.8



 Searching for first example.



Why King’s Cross Lighthouse?

in early 2009, Latitude Architects won planning permission from Camden Council for a £13 million internal reconstruction of the building, with  developers UK Real Estate, Latitude and The London Planning Practice reported to be in negotiation with English Heritage and Camden Council.

It had been a neglected place/building. But now it is trying to transform into new landmark as residential/commercial building, another words.


Q: If the KIng’s Cross Lighthouse is the target landmark, is it evoking particular strong image to audience?

1. Does people have a useful mental images of it?

2. Interview with locals?

3. Shape?

4. Colour?

5. Arrengement?



“imageability: that quality in a physical object which gives it a highprobability of evoking a strong image in any given observer”

• imageability • legibility • visibility ->• Shape • Colour • Arrangement (Powerfully structured, highly useful mental images of the environment)

 Stern: “to create images which by clarity and harmony of form fullfill the need for vividly comprehensible appearance” – “Apparency”


Three Cities P.14

Lynch investigated three cities: 1. Los Angeles         2. Boston         3. Jersey city

• Researched by researchers, by walk:


• Various elements • Visibility • Image Strength • Weakness • Connections • Disconnections • Interrelations • Successes • Difficulties

• Interviews with locals - long residents / employed (30 in Boston, 15 in each city)


• Descriptions • Locations • Sketches • Performance of imaginary trips • Photographic recognition tests

“The form of the city self played tremendous role in the shaping of city.” P.16 2nd Paragraph


Current possible target areas: King’s Cross / Tokyo Tower / Eiffel Tower

1. Historical Research on each landmarks.
2. Finding + analysing historical event which can be a key to change people’s perception about landmarks above.
3. How it is loved by current citizens?
4. How it was hated by by gone days’ citizens? 

The Aim is to find out connections between outlines and contexts? by deriving from Lynch’s Criteria on the above?


The city image and its elements P.46

The overlap of many individual images.




My version of Imageability

Secured feeling to visitors/inhabitants? (Giving geographical hints to them?)
What I think it’s important to be a familiar Landmarks/environment/ products
1. Secured feeling
2. Easy to image what it is like
3. If the idea of imageability can apply into smaller designed objects, it can be mean like a product which can stimulating a user experience?


FONDNESS (aesthetically?) is the another key to be well -loved landmarks. = Then a product / a Landmark can be a pride of citizens/users? 
Need to re-define meaning of “landmark” for my project. For example, it has to be artificial object or physical? Phycological? building or small daily products?


What are the factors of well loved designs?

How a designed object can be memorable in the people’s contexts? In another word, how it plays Key roll in daily narratives?
“Figure-background contrast” How it can create a contrast between other daily products? 



Definition of Landmarks P.48


Key physical character P.48

Singularity - Memorable in the contexts. Figure-background contrast seems to be the principal Factor.

Spatial Prominence can establish elements P. 80

1. By making elements visible from many locations.
2. By setting up a local contrast with nearby elements.

Creating contrast by transformarable / structure by its user-selves?? – Creative / support owner’s narrative?


The activity associated with an elements may also make it landmark. P. 81

ex: Symphony Hall in Los Angeles
It strengh as a landmark seemed to derive from the contrast and irritation felt between its culturral status and its physical invisibility.

Any examples which is able to be a “Landmark” only associated with activity in King’s Cross?


Distant Landmarks

People in Boston: organise the city and selection of routes for trips


But local landmarks, visible only in restricted locations, were much more frequently employed in the three cities studied.

Different culture has different conditions. How do I start researching if I do inter-cultural project? Asia, Europe and where?
Making comparison is crucial to find to generalise practice into theory.


The use of the method – the principal methods. From P. 140~

The interview of small sample of citizens with regard to their image of the environmental and a systematic examination of the environmental imageevolved in trained observers in the field. 


Lynch’s Questionnaires P141~

1. What first comes to your mind? What symbolises the word “Boston” for you? How would you broadly describe Boston in a physical sense?

2. Asking to make quick map of central Boston need to try to cover all the main features. Like rough sketch for a stranger to describe it.
3. Your home to workplace, explicitly.
• Describe the sequence of journey.
• What would you see? Hear? Smell? Along the way.
• Pass markers?
• The clues that a stranger would need to make the same decisions that you have to make?
• Need to be physical picture of things.
4. Any pareticular emotions about vaious parts of your trip?
5. What elements of central Boston you think are most distinctive?
• If you were taken there blindfolded, when the blindfold was taken off what clues would you use to positively identify where you were?
• Are there particular emotion about that?
• Show me on your map where is it?
6. Indicate direction of north on your map?
7. What cities of your aquaintance have good orientation? Why??