Urbanism Without Effort
6 x 9
6 x 9
This beautifully illustrated short e-book explores the idea that to create vibrant, sustainable urban areas for the long term, we must first understand what happens naturally when people congregate in cities—innate, unprompted interactions of urban dwellers with each other and their surrounding urban and physical environment. Wolfe elaborates on the perspective that the underlying rationales for urban policy, planning and regulation are best understood from a historical perspective and in a better understanding of the everyday uses of urban space. To make his case, Wolfe draws on his years of writing about urbanism as well as his professional experiences as a land use and environmental lawyer and offers compelling case study vignettes from everyday urban life.
Successful community, Wolfe argues, is among the first principles of what makes humans feel happy, and therefore city dwellers invariably celebrate environments where and when they can coexist safely, in a mutually supportive way. Wolfe believes such celebration is most interesting when it occurs spontaneously—seemingly without effort. He contends it is critical to first isolate these spontaneous and latent examples of successful urban land use, before applying any prescriptive government policies or initiatives. Wolfe provides something rare in contemporary urbanist writing—rich illustrations and examples from real life—both historical and current. His writing about the past and the future of urban form offers readers inspiration, historical context, and a better understanding of how a sustainable, inviting urban environment is created.
"A plea for a renewed commitment to authentic urbanism and an invitation to learn from history as our cities enter a future of unprecedented change."
Alex Steffen, author of Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities that Can Save the Planet.
"One of Chuck Wolfe's great gifts is an extraordinary photographer's eye for capturing visual images of everyday, but evocative, city life. Another is an uncommonly strong intellectual grounding in urban planning theory. In Urbanism Without Effort, he combines the two in unique fashion to show us how unplanned places can often teach us more about great placemaking than planned ones."
Kaid Benfield, Director, Sustainable Communities for the Natural Resources Defense Council
"Chuck's work is what happens when art meets science in placemaking. His talent for capturing places being themselves is so important in the placemaker's toolkit, yet can be missed if we are not paying attention. Lucky for us, Chuck is always paying attention and this book is the proof."
Dr. Katherine Loflin, Loflin Consulting Solutions
"This is a must read for those who want to understand in words and pictures what stands behind great cities. We're proud to see a Seattle native son helping to show the way."
Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, founding Executive Director, Seattle Great City Initiative
"Wolfe provides something rare in contemporary urbanist writing—rich illustrations and examples from real life—both historical and current. His writing about the past and the future of urban form offers readers inspiration, historical context, and a better understanding of how a sustainable, inviting urban environment is created."
"Nicely put. If you like thinking about the intersection of people and place, you may like this attractively priced book a great deal."
NRDC's The Switchboard blog
"Readers will come away motivated to find, experience and document their own favourite places and find ways to apply effortless urbanism in their own neighbourhood."
"...a book of inspiration and aspiration. It makes the reader yearn for places with soul."
Better! Cities & Towns
"...a great ground-level look at how neighborhoods and communities can foster flourishing life in the city."
Can't Catch My Breath
"The jargon-free text makes this book a good option for anyone, but the substance of the message could make for academic reading as well. I enjoyed reading this book for its vignettes of urban living from around the world."
Global Site Plans
Chapter 1. The Dynamic Potential of Urbanism Without Effort
Chapter 2. Observing Urbanism Without Effort at Work, The Human Experience
Chapter 3. Capturing the Best Urban Diary Examples
Chapter 4. Lessons Learned, Collecting the Diaries
About the Author