A great article from last Sunday's NY Times - At the New JetBlue Terminal, Passengers May Pirouette to Gate 3 - that was linked on a new blog I found - The Artful Manager.
"The two men thought a lot about which public spaces in New York were well "choreographed" — that is, which shaped people's movement successfully — and which were not.
Mr. Rockwell had been pondering the general subject for decades. Even while a student at Syracuse University, he would stand on the roof of the architecture building and study the patterns carved in the snow by a sort of unspoken group will, patterns he would later connect to those described by the urbanist William H. Whyte in his classic studies of public space. What caused them? It wasn't just expedience, because the paths were often curved, where a straight line would be more direct. People moved as they did, Whyte believed, at least in part because they sought out pleasing experiences; they voted with their feet.
If Whyte was right, then why are so many public spaces so deeply unpleasurable — and sometimes almost dangerous — to move through? How could the exquisite choreography of Grand Central Terminal, with its powerful beams of natural light making what Mr. Rockwell called a "gateway inviting people into the city," coexist with the claustrophobic purgatory of Penn Station? (Penn Station seems to sneer and say, "Get lost!") How could the Grand Foyer at Radio City have the same function as the bewildering entry to the Marquis Theater on Broadway, which is cruel enough to suggest that the place was named for the Marquis de Sade?"