Monday, August 18, 2008

Railway Stations as Nodes

"Nodes are points, the strategic foci into which one the observer can enter, and
which are the intensive foci to and from which he is traveling." [Lynch p.47]

Characteristics of Nodes
- junctions of paths
- thematic concentration
- spatial organizers/orienting points in the city
- decision making points
- strong form -> more memorable
- introvert / extrovert (directional quality)

Lynch discussed railway stations as nodes specifically in his book for few times. For instance, he said some subway stations are important points in a map of a city, and major railroad stations are almost always important city nodes. An example he gave was Boston's South Station, which was one of the strongest nodes in the city because of it is both functionally vital and visually impressive. [Lynch p.74]

Railway stations are usually major concentration points that many people go to and gather around. The notion of node can also be strengthened if the exit is addressed with an entrance plaza. However in this sense, many subway stations in New York City are not strong nodes. They are merely stairs or escalators come out from holes in the ground right next to the streets and sidewalks.

In Washington DC where density is not as high as New York City, there are higher potentials for the subway stations to be overtly announced as strategic nodes in the city, especially at locations closely related to the symbolic plan of DC. Visually prominent stations in such locations can also strengthen the quality of nodes and make the place more memorable.

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