Using Pictures to Think About Cities

How does each of us perceive the city? Using photos of pedestrians in Seattle crosswalks and the highly walkable Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Chuck Wolfe challenges readers to think for themselves about what they see.

Writing in The Atlantic Cities, Wolfe begins with Orson Welles' noted warning about learning from "other people’s pictures" rather than one's "own interior vision of things". 

He proceeds to offer four contrasting photos of the American crosswalk and Barcelona’s Las Ramblas to show apparent differences between people and public rights of way, and first-blush perceptions of walkability. Heeding Welles' warning, Wolfe explains how in their own experience, regardless of the imagery, some readers may prefer a crosswalk’s anonymity to the proximity (and pickpockets) of walking streets and tourist lore. 

He concludes: "[L]ike Orson Welles, I urge readers to think for themselves about what they see, and draw conclusions from their own vision, photos not required. Allowing for multiple perspectives about what is best in the city is a practice that I highly recommend."

Full Story: What We Can Learn About Walkability From Looking at Pictures


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