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Growing up in cities : studies of the…

Growing up in cities : studies of the spatial environment of adolescence…

by Kevin Lynch

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 026212078X, Hardcover)

Only in recent years have designers and psychologists taught themselves to look at playgrounds from the child's point of view. Growing Up in Cities extends the field to cover the total environment of childhood and adolescence.

In the course of a UNESCO-sponsored project—whose findings are made available in this book—teams of researchers, all using the same guidelines and techniques in a wide variety of social settings located in Argentina, Australia, Mexico, and Poland, interviewed small samples of young people (and also some parents and local officials), asking them to describe and map the spaces and territories where they live, work, play, and study, or that they pass through or just "mess around" in. In the course of the conversations, the kids were led to reveal how they sense and feel about the various components of their environment—their rooms and homes, the streets, parks, playing fields, schools, wastelands, city centers—and the specific activities they engage in, alone or with their family or friends, in these various places.

In the main body of this book, Kevin Lynch summarizes in a comparative way the reports submitted by the national research teams. Lynch, in the years spanning publication of The Image of the City (1962) and Managing the Sense of a Region (1976), has emerged an explorer who learns through asking how people actually view and sense their environments. He regards the studies reported on here as trailblazing efforts and suggests specific refinements in the guidelines to enhance future efforts in still other parts of the world.

The locales in which these pilot studies were carried out were diverse. Contrasting them, Lynch writes that "Three settlements are Latin American in culture; another Anglo-American; the others Slavic. Salta is a historic, provincial city of moderate size, in an economically depressed region of Argentina. Toluca is a similar provincial city, with its own identity, yet much smaller and growing. Cracow is a historic center of 600,000 people, one of ancient lineage, and still blessed with an active economy. Melbourne is a large, rapidly growing Australian metropolis. Ecatepec is at the extreme edge of Mexico City, which is growing explosively. Warszawa is much smaller, yet it is the national capital." In spite of the sharp cultural, social, and economic differences, the book reveals some important universals of growing up, experiences that children everywhere share as they move toward adulthood.

The sense of place is reinforced for the reader through the inclusion of more than sixty photographs of the various locales, and excerpts and drawings from the interviews encapsulate the youngsters' responses to these environments.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:03 -0400)

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