How to Explore, Observe, and Improve Urban Space
Somewhere, between character and caricature, there exists an authentica truly uniqueurban place, that blends global and local, old and new. Yet, in a dramatically changing world dominated by crises of climate change, maintaining public health, and...
"A book of insightful urban observation...works well as a detailed how-to instruction manual on capturing the essence of place."-- "Crosscut" "A comprehensive toolkit for helping us reintroduce the human experience into urban planning."-- "Spacing" "A toolkit for fine-tuning your observational acumen...this type of close, thoughtful looking is a way to snap out of the stupor of the daily grind and parse the details that are so easily overshadowed. But, Wolfe writes, it's also a way to think about how to shape the future."-- "Atlantic's CityLab" "Absorbing...[Wolfe] encourages readers to think with our eyes and communicate with visual imagery in order to improve our cities."-- "Huffington Post" "Argues that city-dwellers are more than just passive participants in the urban experience...By using [Wolfe's] urban diary method, pedestrians can change a city just by walking through it and taking note of what they see. Wolfe is arguing for more than just strength in numbers--he's training us to become better city-dwellers--to advocate for the things that would make the city better."-- "Seattle Review of Books" "This is a book that should be of interest to planning, urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture faculty and students. Public agency planners and planning consultants may pluck some provocative ideas regarding the possibilities of incorporating the urban diary into their own planning processes." -- "Journal of Planning Education and Research" "We experience cities through what we see. Not since the legendary Kevin Lynch has an author opened our eyes to the power of observing urban space. This book masterfully illustrates how to understand and capture moments in time, see present-day patterns and layers of history, and gain visual insights into the urban space that shapes our daily lives. Chuck's images and words will truly inspire you."--Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner and former president of the American Planning Association "Journal of Planning Education and Research" "We need to be incessant students of place. In Seeing the Better City, Chuck gives us this mandate as well as the tools to succeed in the endeavor. This book is a valuable contribution to the place conversation by championing 'place ethnography' for the betterment of cities and their people."--Dr. Katherine Loflin, The City Doctor "Journal of Planning Education and Research" "With this book Wolfe has created a detailed how-to for personal observation, for whatever reason the observer chooses." -- "Landscape Architecture Magazine" "With Seeing the Better City, Chuck Wolfe accomplishes what few have tried--to actually bridge multiple disciplines in order to help people effectively see, understand, and improve urban spaces. He provides us with an invaluable, accessible roadmap for a place-led future."--Ethan Kent, Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces, NYC "Journal of Planning Education and Research" "Touching on historical examples, from Berenice Abbott's Changing New York series from the '30s, to neighborhood debates of today's changing modern metropolis, Wolfe outlines a philosophy that reflects his multihyphenate nature, blending the artistic approach of a photographer with the rigor of a lawyer." -- "Curbed" "If we want to create the places of our dreams, we need to observe our cities more clearly. Seeing the Better City is both a thoughtful guide and an enticement to take up this challenge."--Charles Montgomery, Author of Happy City "Journal of Planning Education and Research" "Easy to read and rich with inspiring detail, Seeing the Better City marries prose with imagery to show how anyone who engages with a city can log their experiences and impressions and how these observations can
Charles R. Wolfe provides a unique perspective about cities as both a long time writer about urbanism world Wide and as an attorney in Seattle, where he focuses on land use and environmental law. He is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington, where he teaches land-use law at the graduate level. Wolfe contributes regularly on urban development topics for several publications including CityLab, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Grist.org, seattlepi.com, and Crosscut.com. He blogs at myurbanist.com.