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Everyday Urbanism

Why 'The Well-Tempered City' is a One-Stop, Urban Epic

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 09.27.2016 | Books
Charles R. Wolfe

Spoiler alert: I love epic stories with universal meaning for varied audiences around the world. In sum, that is why I think Jonathan F.P. Rose's new...

Why My Twitter Feed is Singing About Placemaking

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 09.11.2016 | Green
Charles R. Wolfe

My Twitter stream is alive with the sound of placemaking.  While those are not the exact Sound of Music lyrics we remember, I am as guilty as anyone...

Observing the City: Exploring Dreams, Not Memes

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 07.20.2016 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

The participation of diverse voices in city decision-making processes is critical to successful urban change. By diverse, I mean not just professional...

As Cities Evolve, 'Access' Is About More Than Cars

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 07.21.2016 | Green
Charles R. Wolfe

Questions and answers about accessing cities and neighborhoods once spoke the language of exit ramps, street widening and parking adequacy. Now, different conversations, and varied imagery, create diverse story lines, where urban policy and citizen activism converge.

Using Urban Universals to Frame City Life

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 07.14.2016 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

The two photographs below say both simple and remarkable things about how urban residents interact with each other, and the streets around them.

Urban Edges and How to Define the Spaces Beyond

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 06.07.2015 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

Today's urbanist may also see a future gondola station, a walkable destination, or the potential for sustaining natural pockets amid the built environment.  But what compels such vision? I'll take a leap of faith here, in order to put a modern gloss on the human imagination that conceived the edge of the earth in Italy, long ago.

Using Urban Observation to "Ghost-Bust" Cities

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 05.26.2015 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

I saw a ghost, of a missing building from a boyhood memory -- something that Amazon might have retrofitted, today, if it were still there for the taking.

Reading Cities, Cover to Cover, And Why

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 04.12.2015 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

When Charles Montgomery penned The Happy City, he knew that going forward, evolving cities need to honor human emotion. His follow-up labs attempt to measure what humans want and need in urban environments.

From Urbanizing to Urban, According to My Facebook Cover Page

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 03.08.2015 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

During a year filled with four trips abroad and two months away, many of my 2014 Facebook cover photos helped fill my yearly urban and exurban diaries.

How We Learn From Urban Immersion

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 01.17.2015 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

How we experience purchases of coffee and baked goods may sound fairly trivial, and elitist. But, based on my current immersion in the south of France, I have come to think these simple interactions offer valuable lessons for how to live in neighborhoods and cities.

The Human Dimension of Mixed-Use Development

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 01.13.2015 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

It took 30 minutes for suspicions about a photograph to become a thoughtful, affinity-based gift of items that transcended place and time. That's the power of the real dynamics of city life, the connections behind the built environment that we, at first, more readily see.

Sustainable Housing, Politics and a Basic Pride of Place

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 12.23.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

We carry with us the ability to mine pride from place, even in places that are, perhaps, least expected to shine.

Why the 'Finesse of the Avenue' Is What Cities Need

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 12.07.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

While Cassis is known as a fishing village turned touristic haven (and a departure point for dramatic rock faces above the Mediterranean and remarkable inlets along coast, a short distance from Marseille), this essay is hardly a travelogue.

The Look and Feel of 'Inevitably Urban'

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 11.29.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

I have compiled 25 photographs for this essay -- taken in multiple locations since 2009, including cities on four continents. The photographs are presented in black and white, to better show the contrast between the human and built environment, yet also emphasize the undeniably symmetry between.

How to Decode the Place Between Places

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 11.23.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

The ebb and flow of nature, economic base and the passage of time are always ripe for observation. Below, take note of one walk's illustration of two towns, their edges and the spaces between.

The Option of Sensing the City

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 11.11.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

Sensing the city is a personal experience owned by each of us. From a legal perspective, it is an urban property right that transcends public and private domains. It is a form of place-decoding that deserves more illustration and attention.

How to Place-Decode the Elements of Urbanism

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 11.04.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

According to the New York Times' Roger Cohen, France is struggling with changing times, including how perception of classic physical space is evolving as the role of cyberspace expands.

Timeless or Time-Bound in the City?

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 10.20.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

A uniform filter applied to multiple urban scenes can easily warp time and location, and obscure -- yet somehow enhance -- the reality of place.

Looking Behind the Common Sense Elements of City Life

Charles R. Wolfe | Posted 10.07.2014 | Arts
Charles R. Wolfe

Last month, in Moustiers Sainte Marie, France, I watched several shopkeepers return a lost young bird to a part of town closer to its natural habitat. This small drama was a play of few acts, but reflected a pattern of human conduct embedded in urban life.

Searching for a Fourth Urbanism, Part 2: Wherein I Find One and Describe it

Frank Gruber | Posted 05.25.2011 | Style
Frank Gruber

The developments in these three cities are based on maximizing and capturing the economic value of city real estate. They all represent intensification of uses.