Stealthy, slippery, crusty, prickly and jittery

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.

12 responses to “Stealthy, slippery, crusty, prickly and jittery”

  1. ryan says :

    Ok, now I’ve got to read Sense of the City. Any chance you’ll be touring your Coooper Union talk to San Francisco? You should be here for this:

    http://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/bldgblog-chronicle-books-present.html

    And… I thought you might find this interesting – WE LOVE TO BUILD™ illustrates what a “slippery” space might look like:

    WE LOVE TO BUILD™ isolated communities

  2. Steve Portigal says :

    Hah. I came here to post something whiny about not getting to see this talk, but Ryan has the better approach. Come HERE and give the talk!

  3. Ben says :

    Imagine that I’m posting something whiny here about not getting to see this and that I choose to ignore the problems of touring this talk all the way to Australia.

    Go on! Come to Australia!

  4. speedbird says :

    LOL. I give you my usual answer: find me a venue and somebody willing to fly Nurri and I down there, and I’m in!

  5. Steven Flusty says :

    Many thanks for the kind notice, and moreso for the new directions. One correction, though — I’m not a Canadian geographer, but an Angeleno one. Just in the midst of exploring expatriotism right now, is all.

  6. speedbird says :

    Duly noted, Steven, and thanks for stopping by. As you can see, I’m a great admirer of your work. : . )

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Joey Roth - 22 March 2007
  2. no2self.net - 11 December 2007
  3. …My heart’s in Accra - 25 September 2008
  4. My afternoon at PICNIC08 - 25 September 2008
  5. Steven Flusty / Stealthy, Slippery, Crusty, Prickly and Jittery | Mapping Urban (Un)sustainabilities - 18 January 2012

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