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Thread: Psychology of Cities?

  1. #1
    Jan 2009
    Washington, DC

    Psychology of Cities?


    Could any of you kindly recommend books that deal with the psychological aspects of cities?

    I've read Lynch's "The Image of the City" which deals with this subject to some extent. I'd like to read more about how the design/plan/layout of a city affects its citizens and visitors psychologically.

  2. #2
    May 2008
    Surf Jock City
    One book that deals with this is Ulf Hannerz's Exploring the City, which is an oldie but good.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
    Dec 2008
    Northern Utah
    There are a number of really good anthropological studies of very specific urban environments (called ethnographies) that you might find interesting. Two off the top of my head were "You Owe Yourself a Drunk" and "A Little Gem". If you're completely bored by them you can send me hate-mail and we'll call it even. I forget the authors.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  4. #4
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    There are other good Lynch books worth looking at as well. My favorite is "What Time is this Place?" But you are right, it is more about how to design the environment to achieve certain positive impacts on the psychology/experience of users.

    Christopher Alexander and "Pattern Language" gets a little more at how design impacts behavior, but not so much in the sense of studying specific cities (more on specific design elements).

    Dolores Hayden has done some work that might relate. I'm thinking of "The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History"

    That's all I've got. But I think ursus' suggestion to look at ethnographies of specific cities is a good one.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #5
    Nov 2009
    The Glass City
    Hmmmm.... seems like I have read many books in this topic but when it comes to recalling their names/authors I am left blank....

    Here are some suggestions about specific environments within cities:

    - Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America, by Setha Low (discusses the psychology of buying a home in a gated community and the effects that gates have on residents)

    - Neon Metropolis, by Hal Rothman (discusses history and development of Las Vegas, as well as the psychological and cultural impacts of living/visiting a city with nearly no public space)

    - Gay Politics, Urban Politics, by Robert Bailey (discusses identity issues for GLBT residents of cities, as well as a bit about how gay neighborhoods develop and why, and how local politics impact this minority community)

    I'll post more if I can think of them later.

    Edit: I just realized how old the OP was... something tells me the original poster will not be reading my book suggestions but maybe someone else will be interested in them.

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