Kevin Lynch’s book ‘The view from the Road’ is on one hand a really interesting and straight forward investigation on how to describe and classify aspects of the city from a particular viewpoint. On the other hand it is also a beautiful narrative engaging with the subject. Aspects of mobility are important in the preliminary conception of urban narrative as a succession. Graham Shane points out that Foucault identified the ship as the heterotopia par excellence mainly because of its quality of mobility and time (Shane 2005, p.252). Shane introduces the narrative as: “Because of the increasing speed of travel and communications, the Picturesque landscape entered into the narrative of the journey and city”. A series of projects and investigations fit into this approach of the narrative. For one, this is John Brinckerhoff Jackson with ‘The stranger’s path’ (2000) where he describes the town from the perspective of an arriving stranger (male) and how the town is read as a sequence of elements resulting in a aggregated narrative. There is also, in the light of Brinckerhoff Jackson, the Venturi and Scott Brown investigation of a similar object, but from the perspective from behind the wheel of a car. The same is true of Kevin Lynch’s narrative in ‘The view from the road’ (Appleyard, Lynch. 1964). They all document the scenography and choreography of movement and flows within the city or town but also beyond and into the landscape. This to some extent could be called the narrative of the machine, in reference to the urbanMachine and the functional city.
Image by Kevin Lynch, Donald Appleyard, - The View from the Road, detail -taken from chass.utotronto.ca
timeLapse of a road trip through Toronto
Appleyard, D., Lynch, K. & Myer, J.R., 1964. The View from the Road, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press for the Joint Center for Urban Studies of M.I.T. and Harvard University.
Jackson, J.B., 2000. The Stranger's Path. In Landscape in Sight. London: Yale University Press.
Shane, D.G., 2005. Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modelling in Architecture, Urban Design and City Theory, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.