Pages 381-393 | Published online: 11 Nov 2016

William H. Whyte is renowned for his textbook studies of the choreography of people in public space in the 1970s. From a pro-city bias, he focused on personal exchanges in the city centre to verify the benefits of density and intensity. As a public intellectual, he acted as a bridge to stage a rare fusion of urban theories. Using Whyte as model for an operative engagement with theory, the narrative pursued concerns how he zigzagged across intellectual horizons, adopting theories from adjacent fields, which helped unlock prerequisites for an atmosphere of “cityness” forged from the inherently wicked problem of cities; hence sorcery.

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