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'Inevitably Urban' and the Role of the People

Inevitable Urban TimesThese times seem so inevitably urban.  Of course, my wry remark comes from a city-dweller in a post-recessionary Seattle, where new construction appears at every turn.Here, civic dialogue focuses on the social...

Posted September 30, 2014    

Decoding the Place Between Places

Third in an illustrated series about place-decoding from the South of France.Today, many promote urban walkability, but for several years, I have focused on inter-urban, or, even inter-settlement walkability. Strolls through such “...

Posted September 22, 2014    

Public Space in Motion, from Nice, France [VIDEO]

On Saturday, September 13, the 2014 multi-day (and always provocative) Seattle Design Festival features a “Public Space in Motion” panel.Here, almost live from France, is the panel’s opening presentation:

Posted September 17, 2014    

The Option of Sensing the City

Second in an illustrated series about place-decoding from the South of France.How do we decipher this story of port-side people, buildings, and who lives where? Which senses are key?Place Decoding: Moving Beyond the Directed...

Posted September 15, 2014    

Place-Decoding the Elements of Urbanism

First in a series of illustrated ruminations from the South of France.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...

Posted September 3, 2014    

Timeless or Time-Bound in the City?

Take away context clues, and cities become more interesting matrices—with blank cells to complete—where each of us personalizes how space meets time.A uniform filter applied to multiple urban scenes can easily warp time and location, and obscure—yet...

Posted August 20, 2014    

Activating Common Sense in the City

An entry in the new series, depicting the common sense dimensions of urban placesAround the world, the sit-able city (a new term that I termed here last October for an age-old concept) increasingly surrounds us, whether installed to honor...

Posted August 11, 2014    

Clarifying Urban Property Rights, Without Effort

An entry in the new series, depicting the common sense dimensions of urban placesIn today’s shareable city, there are some things—like driveway access—that are difficult for many people to surrender to chance. In this case, the means of...

Posted August 7, 2014    

Cities: Where Children Learn to Fly

An entry in the new series, depicting the common sense dimensions of urban placesIn Seattle’s Volunteer Park one recent evening, the landscape yielded an expression befitting an urban open space—a reflection of childhood speculation that maybe...

Posted August 6, 2014    

Inadvertence as a First Principle of Urbanism

An entry in the new series, depicting the common sense dimensions of urban places.In the urbanist dialogue, we don’t often speak about the value of inadvertence in urban settings, but spontaneous interludes often inspire us in a “look at...

Posted July 8, 2014    

Framing Common Sense Moments in Urban Places

An introduction to the new series, depicting the common sense dimensions of urban places.A few days ago, in Moustiers Sainte Marie, France, I watched several shopkeepers return a lost young bird to a part of town closer to its natural habitat....

Posted July 7, 2014    

Why Do We Write About Cities?

When we write about cities, sometimes we do best when we take the metrics away.In 2011, amid a visit to San Francisco and just back from Africa, I offered some thoughts about why we write about cities.  Three years later, I’m not sure much has...

Posted March 31, 2014