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2. A Brief History of Wayfinding > 2.4. The Built Environment

The Built Environment

In his 1960 book, The Image of the City, Kevin Lynch inspired a generation of architects, planners, designers, and citizens to envision urban spaces as a functioning whole. Using the concept of environmental legibility, he focused attention on the structure and organization of a city’s wayfinding systems. Drawing upon extensive studies conducted in Boston, Jersey City, and Los Angeles, Lynch brought to life the orientation and navigation experiences of real people in real cities. He contrasted the anxiety and even terror caused by disorientation with the sense of balance and well-being produced by the easily recognizable patterns of a legible city. And he created a vocabulary for describing a city’s elements that laid the foundation for modern wayfinding design.


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