Reconsidering The Image of the City

  • Kevin Lynch
Part of the Environment, Development, and Public Policy book series (EDPC)


The Image of the City was published over 20 years ago, and it is still listed in bibliographies.1 It is time to wonder what it led to. The research was done by a small group with no training in the methods they used, and no literature to guide them. Several motives led them to the study:
  1. 1.

    An interest in the possible connection between psychology and the urban environment, at a time when most psychologists—at least, those in the field of perception—preferred controlled experiments in the laboratory to the wandering variables of the complicated, real environment. We hoped to tempt some of them out into the light of day.

  2. 2.

    Fascination with the aesthetics of the city landscape, at a time when most U.S. planners shied away from the subject, because it was “a matter of taste” and had a low priority.

  3. 3.

    Persistent wonder about how to evaluate a city, as architects do so automatically when presented with a building design. Shown a city plan, planners would look for technical flaws, estimate quantities, or analyze trends, as if they were contractors about to bid on the job. We hoped to think about what a city should be, and we were looking for possibilities of designing directly at that scale.

  4. 4.

    Hope of influencing planners to pay more attention to those who live in a place—to the actual human experience of a city, and how it should affect city policy.



Mental Image Urban Study Urban Design Emotional Tone Technical Flaw 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    K. Lynch (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1960 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1956.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    K. Lynch, What Time Is This Place? ( Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    H. F. Searles, The Non-Human Environment ( New York: International University Press, 1960 ).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    D. Appleyard, Planning a Pluralist City: Conflicting Realities in Ciudad Guyana ( Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    P. B. Herr et al., Ecologue/Cambridgeport Project ( Cambridge: M.I.T. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    D. Wood and R. Beck. Beck, “Talking with Environmental A, an Experimental Mapping Language,” in Environmental Knowing: Theories, Research, and Methods, ed. G. T. Moore and R. G. Golledge ( Stroudsburg, Pa.: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    T. K. Banerjee, “Urban Experience and the Development of the City Image” ( Ph.D. dissertation, M.I.T. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    B. A. Smith, “The Image of the City 10 Years Later” (Master’s thesis, M.I.T. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    In his incomplete and unpublished manuscript “Identity, Power, and Place.” HA. Rapoport, “The Meaning of the Built Environment,” (1983).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Moore and Golledge, op. cit. Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    G. Evans, “Environmental Cognition,” Psychological Bulletin 88, no. 2 (1980): 259–287.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    San Francisco Department of City Planning, San Francisco Urban Design Study, 8 vols.,and Urban Design Plan (San Francisco, 1969–1971).Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Dallas Department of Urban Planning, The Visual Form of Dallas (Dallas, 1974).Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Minneapolis Planning Commission, Toward a New City ( Community Renewal Plan, Minneapolis, 1965 ).Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    T. Yata, “City-Wide Urban Design Policies” ( Ph.D. dissertation, M.I.T. Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 1979 ).Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    K. Lynch (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1976 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Lynch
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations