William H. Whyte (1917-1999) was an American urbanist,
organizational analyst, journalist and people-watcher.After writing a
book about corporate culture, he started to research human behavior in
urban settings. He wrote many books on the subject as well as created
the following video on the social life of small urban spaces. Released in
1988, this witty and original film documents the research him and his
researchers performed on social interactions within the city mainly
looking at which spaces work and which ones do not. Starting with New
York's Seagram Plaza the film analyzes why the space is so popular and
compares them to other open areas in New York and other cities. This
film is an engaging tour of the urban landscape and looks at how it can
be transformed into a more habitable place for the urban dweller. The
following video is a small fragment from his original documentary, Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, a must see for any urban designer or architecture student.
After completing the documentary of the social life of small urban spaces, Whyte wrote a follow up book by the same name as the video, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. A great resource for urban research.