ARCH2062 Assignement2

                             CITIES IN CONTEXT

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                 Using your theoretical knowledge and
understanding from the
            lecture series, you are to
write a 1000 word essay on a reading of the                          
                                        Urban Condition
of Leicester

                                      Kevin Lynch (Image of the City)

                                               Marilena Kynigou














 The Image of the City
“is a book about the look of cities, and whether this look is of any
importance, and whether it can be changed” (Lynch, 1960) written by a professor
of urban studies and planning Kevin Lynch. In this book, he talks about
different approach of how to analyse and improve visual forms of the cities,
which is still used as a reference until now. Further, he introduces different
types of legibility and imageability to lay the theoretical foundation of the
entire book. According to Lynch’s view of an environmental image can be
explained as “a picture especially in the mind”(Lynch, 1960), a
sentimental combination between objective city image and subjective human
thoughts. In terms of identity, it can be distinguished what makes an image
unique among the city and its structure. Every person had a different mental
map according to his/her understanding of the city. Everyone has his/her own idea
of how the city is visually represented according to their daily life.
Researching a sample of these images can help planners describe a “public
image” of their city (Lynch, 1960). Therefore, Lynch defines five
different types of elements as the contents of the city: paths, edges
districts, nodes and landmarks.
     Firstly, paths are channels by which people are
moving along. The external appearance of a path can be easily recognised if it
has characteristic features. Thus, the path will always be identifiable and will
continue to the rest of the path and the city. Additionally, when the paths are
clear and give out the sense of identity to the observer, it must be clear from
where they are hailed from and from where they tend to go. Once the directional
properties are determined, in order to achieve the scale of characteristics of
the path, nodes and landmarks are required. Therefore, if the paths in a city
are confusing and disordered, there will be no way to create a clear city
image. (Lynch, 1960)
     Another element are the edges, which
have boundaries that are divided in two different areas. The edges might not be
as crucial as the continuity and visibility. Sometimes the paths could be
identified as edges. For example highways and rivers can act like edges and at
the same time be effective orientation elements. Moreover, some edges could be
seen as a point of connection rather than a point of separation. Road/different
thoughts of different people. (Lynch, 1960)
    Thirdly, districts is another element
that is essential for creating an imageable city. Districts are defined as
large areas in a city in which the observers can mentally go “inside of”
(Lynch, 1960). Texture, space form detail and symbols could also be recognised
as different components of a district. These elements are identified in a characteristic
complex in order to to create an impressive contrast. Likewise, a certain strengthening
of the indication is required to produce a strong image across the region.
(Lynch, 1960)
    Furthermore, nodes are strategic outlets that
can enter observers. Also in this aspect where not only small points but at the
same time squares, linear shapes, and central areas. In substance, nodes are
divided in two types: path intersections and feature concentrations. Whereas the
components for a nodes have uncommon features on the inside and some characters
around it.( Lynch,1960)
     The last component that makes up a
legible city are the landmarks. The landmarks can be identified as an external point
of reference, this time the observer does not enter within them. The landmark
it is easily noticed by the observers and it can also be used as a guide to
help them find their way and give them a sense of direction. Also there are
different components that can be identified as landmarks such as mountain,
store sign or building. Further, the physical aspects of a landmark are
creating a comparison with the different components on the surrounding. So
then, the landmarks are characterised as being memorable in comparison to the objects
of the site.
   According to the Lynch’s view of the
city in the paragraphs above and the using of the different elements would be an
exploration about Leicester. He is using different elements and determine them
in different countries to imagine a legibly city. The different elements will adapt
in Leicester In order to examine if it is a legible city.
      In the first place, some noticeable paths in
Leicester are New Walk, High Street, London Road, Welford Road and Narborough
Road. The most significant path in Leicester is New Walk. This is happening because
of the connections that are being created between New Walk and different areas
in Leicester (Figure1). For example New Walk is the mainly road that connects
the city centre with the residential buildings in the area, the universities,
the Railway, the Victoria Park or even a few pubs, museum and offices. What
makes this path significant is not only due to its lacks of connections but
because of his memorable visual character. As can be seen from the Figure 2 the
green areas through the New Walk are created a memorable and unique image and
structure. Also High Street it is also an important path to Leicester because
it is connects the city centre and the Clock Tower with a main road where are student
accommodations, nightclubs and restaurants (Figure3). Through Victoria Park,
London Road connects the accommodations with the Train Station. When you pass
from Welford road to London Road connects the University of Leicester and the
residential areas. Moreover, in another area of the city Narborough Road is
located in a residential area and is connected to the highway via many shops
and restaurants (Figure1).
      Through Leicester could be recognised a very
few edges. The only clear edge that it can be recognized in Leicester is The
River Soar it separates Leicester into two areas. First area was residential
area and Narborough Road from the rest of the city. There is also another edge
that is more mentally created a boundary than physically. Although this road is being used as a separation
of map Leicester through this road.
     Consider Kevin Lynch, the city beyond
the limits gives a limited sense of connection with the city. Most of the
districts that are recognised In Leicester are accommodations. A few of them
are around the London Road Welford Road and Narborough Road. According to the
feeling that you get inside the districts some areas can be considered as
districts such as the Market place and the Universities areas.
    Fourth, the nodes are being used as joints
most of the times between different places. Nodes are could be found in
Leicester and more specific there are in the connection of Tiger Way, London
Road and Welford Road. Nodes could be found also at the end points of New Walk,
at the Clock Tower and at the Market Place.
   As shown above, landmarks used as an external
point of reference. There are a lot of landmarks located in Leicester. The
Clock Tower, the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, the New
Walks Museum and the Cathedral church are some of the landmarks in Leicester.
Thus the landmarks is the easiest way to guide through the city.
    In conclusion, it can be observed
that Leicester is not a very legible city (Figure 6). According to Lynch’s (1960)
theory, what creates a legible city are the different elements that we are
adding together. The elements that are present in the Figure 6 are not making
it a readable map. Creating a map with all the different elements at the same
time will probably help in the process of development. This city is not very
legible but that does not mean that there is not any chance of improvement. As
an example, people have problems with identify because the paths and the
districts are not well organised, and they may create a confusion. However, while
the city of observers Leicester can be read easier because of the landmarks
which create a more familiar environment to the observers and that helps them
navigate an improvement to the paths and the districts would make the map more
communication in the urban area. One guidance line from Kevin Lynch talked
about the visual communication in the urban area. It stated that, in order to
communicate on a common thread, the city would have to bring the people and the
designers together.



1.      Lynch, K. (1996). The Image of the City. Cambridge: MIT