Reading the highly, highly recommended Sense of the City over morning coffee a few months back, I came across a passage about a typology of space devised by
a Canadian Angeleno geographer named Steven Flusty.
Flusty had identified a range of “characteristics…introduced into urban spaces to make them repellent to the public,” and he gave each of the five situations he listed particularly evocative names:
- stealthy spaces “cannot be found”
- slippery spaces “cannot be reached”
- crusty spaces “cannot be accessed”
- prickly spaces “cannot be occupied comfortably”
- jittery spaces “cannot be utilized unobserved”
This taxonomy of urban form is one I think we all intuitively recognize, but it’s important that Flusty has gone ahead and given it such precision, such vivid specificity. (It has applications beyond the spatial, too: see, for example, this uncompromising specimen of prickly packaging, Bangkok-style, provided by Jan Chipchase.)
If you want a preview of my upcoming Cooper Union talk, consider the ways in which the presence of ambient informatics in the urban environment can enhance its stealthy, slippery, crusty, prickly and jittery qualities – or militate against them.