Civic Art in an Age of Cultural Relativism: The Aesthetic Origins of Kevin Lynch's Image of the CityJournal of Urban Design (2011)
AbstractKevin Lynch's seminal work of 1960, The Image of the City, continues to be a standard reference book for urban designers and social scientists alike. Nevertheless, the historical context through which this text emerged has remained relatively unexplored. The obscurity of the book's intellectual genesis has been compounded by Lynch's own bibliographic omissions. By revealing Lynch's full range of sources in the often contradictory theories and debates of the early 1950s, this paper illuminates an overlooked moment in the intellectual genealogy of 20th century urban design. The paper argues that Lynch effectively combined but also transformed contradictory strands of early 20th century urban aesthetic theory into a contemporary model of ‘urban design’. Rather than presenting some unified, ‘organic’ order, integrating both social and urban forms within some universal idea of ‘modern man’, Lynch's work suggested a way in which a pluralistic urban society, characterized by multiplicity and difference, might nevertheless share a common urban space.
- Civic art,
- Cultural relativism,
- Kevin Lynch,
Citation InformationAnthony Raynsford. "Civic Art in an Age of Cultural Relativism: The Aesthetic Origins of Kevin Lynch's Image of the City" Journal of Urban Design Vol. 16 Iss. 1 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/anthony_raynsford/5/