Seeing the Better City

By: Charles R. Wolfe

In May 2021, we will read “Seeing the Better City” by Charles R. Wolfe. We will have a live event with the author and with Jane’s Walk London on May 9th at 5 pm UK time, discussing the book and urban observation in general – click here to sign up on Eventbrite for free!

In the next weeks, you will see the discussion questions and other input for this month’s discussion below. Feel free to use the comment section and also follow us on @urbanismbookclub on Instagram for updates!

Description:

In order to understand and improve cities today, personal observation remains as important as ever.  While big data, digital mapping, and simulated cityscapes are valuable tools for understanding urban space, using them without on-the-ground, human impressions risks creating places that do not reflect authentic local context. Seeing the Better City brings our attention back to the real world right in front of us, focusing it once more on the sights, sounds, and experiences of place in order to craft policies, plans, and regulations to shape better urban environments.

Through clear prose and vibrant photographs, Charles Wolfe shows those who experience cities how they might catalog the influences of urban form, neighborhood dynamics, public transportation, and myriad other basic city elements that impact their daily lives. He then shares insights into how they can use those observations to contribute to better planning and design decisions. Wolfe calls this the “urban diary” approach, and highlights how the perspective of the observer is key to understanding the dynamics of urban space. He concludes by offering contemporary examples and guidance on how to use carefully recorded and organized observations as a tool to create change in urban planning conversations and practice.

From city-dwellers to elected officials involved in local planning and design issues, this book is an invaluable tool for constructive, creative discourse about improving urban space.

Join the Urbanism Book Club Mailing List:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you like the work that I do? Consider supporting the blog by buying me a tea! I’m so thankful for your support!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

More Books

Happy City

For the first month of 2021, we will read “Happy City” by Charles Montgomery. This classic looks at many different cities around the world and

Cities and Literature

In November 2020, we are reading “Cities and Literature” by Malcolm Miles. Just as the days get shorter for many of us and we take

Soft City

Our March 2021 read is a continuation of last month’s classic “Cities for People” by Jan Gehl. “Soft City” was written by Gehl’s colleague, David

Urban Acupuncture

In December 2020, we will read “Urban Acupuncture” by Jaime Lerner. This short read is uplifting and inspiring, which is why I really liked it

Feminist City

In April 2021, we will finally read another book written by a woman. There are not too many urban planning books by non-male authors, but

Building and Dwelling

In September 2020, we are reading “Building and Dwelling – Ethics for the City” by Richard Sennett. This is a complex read, but great for

Join the Mailing List

Sign up for monthly newsletters to get notified of new blog articles and other news about participatory planning!