- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Island Press (February 2, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 161091774X
- ISBN-13: 978-1610917742
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seeing the Better City: How to Explore, Observe, and Improve Urban Space
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As a professor, he sees the way the city *ought* to be based on policy and politics, and the reader can see that this may inform where he points his camera. As a photographer, his eye is drawn to interesting subjects, often in the built environment and informed by his legal practice. I believe some of these images taken in the built environment through the ‘photographer lens’ inform his legal practice and teachings as well.
Regardless of which lens you think he is looking through for any given image, you will appreciate his composition, his subtle capture of color to punctuate an idea, and his sense of humor. If you are an urbanist, you will appreciate the subtle appreciation of the city; if you are a photography buff, you will find images of the city that may not be what you expected to find in a book of photographs of a city. Either way, let go and let Chuck Wolfe will take you on a journey through the city - you won’t be sorry.
For instance, as I continue to read more of this interesting book, I am noticing details about my city, both small and subtle, as well as the obvious. I allow my gaze to linger and to savor what I am seeing. I notice that which is pleasing to me and that which I can rearrange with my mind's eye to become more pleasing. I have slowed down in order to truly "see" what it is about my city that brings me joy.
The city I live in is generally easy on the eye, and I have come to take it for granted. Now that I am reading "Seeing the Better City", I have a renewed appreciation for the beauty of my city. Seeing with "fresh eyes" has become an essential part of my new engagement with my city. I feel enthusiastic as I take my almost daily forays with new and interesting discoveries. I look forward to reading the remainder of this very practical and interesting book.
What makes his argument even more interesting is his encouragement of each of us to create our own “Urban Diary.” A personal presentation, through words, photographs, video, artwork, or whatever medium speaks to us, to attune ourselves to our urban environments and share – or not – that vision with others. Taking the time to create your diary inherently provides lessons in how the world shapes itself, and how humans interact within it. It expands beyond the simple brick & stick buildings and encourages appreciation of culture and history and grace within civilizations, both current and ancient. It allows us to grasp what it is that makes us human, and makes us whole, and even what makes us broken, as people and as a community.
Just imagine if each person took the time to memorialize their experiences, their perceptions, and their desires for an ideal. Incorporating those ideas, some of which may seem infinitesimal, if not entirely insignificant, and others to the contrary, into our cities as we grow can only create more human, more vibrant, communities that embrace their differences and their beauty in ways that we cannot now comprehend.
And so, I highly recommend Seeing the Better City. It opens the readers’ eyes in new ways, and allow us to see what, quite honestly, becomes the better city.
Most recent customer reviews
Chuck Wolfe's book records sensitive, creative insights about what it means actually to experience cities with all our senses and as many brain...Read more