This in-progress research project is the third in a series that analyzes user behavior in small urban spaces. The study revisits William Whyte’s observations from late 70’s New York City in order to generate updated insights some 40 years later with a focus on design elements. The study looks at a set of sites during weekend use by individuals and groups and pays special attention to site programming and the relationship of demographic characteristics like gender and age to built elements.  Findings will include a set of commonly observed phenomena illustrated to help designers apply research findings to their design work as they aim to better integrate user desires.  Weekend usage is of increasing importance as post-pandemic commute patterns evolve and downtowns shift to cater to weekend users, shoppers, and travelers.  Research methods will incorporate traditional methods and experiment with emerging ones including anonymized location data and high-resolution aerial imagery.


Anya Domlesky, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA


René Bihan, Sergio Lima, Marco Esposito, Glenn Jones, Alison Ecker, and Jim Lee, SWA




Booklet (forthcoming)