unravelling the signs and details that make us love or loath everyday urban spaces.





1. BOOK - Unravelling the Urban Lexicon, now available in paperback and as eBook.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
 Buy the Book
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.
 Buy the eBook


Unravelling the Urban Lexicon: insights to better understand human responses to common urban details in our cities.

This is the evolving website of the Urban Lexicons project by Rosanna Vitiello and Marcus Willcocks. The work has been supported by a Bright Sparks grant from Gunpowder Park.

We are working to decipher how details in our urban environments affect our emotions and perceptions of place. In short, we want to understand why some details mean we fall in love with a place, whilst others make us want to get straight out of there.

The first outcomes are being released as a series of personal responses told by each of the people who have taken part in our 'Detail Detectives' workshops. These have guided us to begin to define some of the 'signs' which were commonly responded to from details within different built environments.

We believe some of the information we have revealled could be very useful and, we hope enlightening, for all kinds of locals and professionals involved in creative, practical or logistical aspects of making and managing public environments. We have nowpublished the first 'Urban Lexicons' project report, as a placemaking tool during this via Lulu, and we are exploring further opportunities to develop this book resource, pending support from publishers.

We would very much like to hear your thoughts on this as an inspirational resource and what you think we could improve, to make it more useful to you and other practitioners. You canaccess a recent version via Issuu or better, by the eBook or hardcopy, from the links above. We would welcome your comments by email.

Rosanna and Marcus are both trained designers who cross traditional discipline boundaries to focus on design in the public realm. Rosanna, based in New York, brings experience in strategy and communication, while Marcus, based in Barcelona and London, specializes in user-centred and socially-centred design. Both share an interest in uniting expertise from comercial design experience to engage in innovative ways with issues of public space and daily life. They work with deigners and archictects as well as local authorities, social scientists, anthropologists, academics and real people to explore this field.

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2.CHAPTER -Destination Branding and the Urban Lexicon. Vitiello and Willcocks. Published in Morgan, N. et al (eds.). (2011). Destination Brands, Managing Place Reputation, 3rd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier), pp 303-319. More details here.


We are keen to hear your thoughts on this work and how you think it could be made more useful as tools for place making: for street users, for designers, planners, architects and others who are involved in the creation or management of public urban places. Please email us with your feedback.

- Rosanna Vitiello
- Marcus Willcocks
- Impact of the Unknown, Bright Sparks
- Urban Lexicons research blog