How Setting Makes a Place: A Seattle Retrospective

Chuck Wolfe reflects on his rapidly changing hometown, arguing that Seattle’s signature location and setting—however rearranged by the regrades of the past, Freeway Park, or a pending James Corner-led waterfront remake—remains for all to see.

August 7, 2018, 1:00 PM PDT

By Charles R. Wolfe @crwolfelaw


Writing from his new London home base, in Seattle's Crosscut, Wolfe explores "what is most important to a city’s identity from the outside, looking in?".  

In response, he describes international perceptions of Seattle.  He then explains how his hometown has influenced the world--from grunge to Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon.  Yet, the city's major assets of setting and views live on:

A stunning view cuts across class and space and time, evoking the history and landscape of all those who have been here, including the first peoples to live around Puget Sound.  A classic view becomes embedded in memory as the symbol of city’s impact on those who see and remember its essence. Despite Seattle’s growth and change, its setting remains an incomparable asset from vantage points across the city, and an exemplary resource for those who look from across the world.

Monday, August 6, 2018 in Crosscut

A group of people gather in front of a row of small homes.

Georgia's First Tiny Home Village Now Open, and Sold Out

Eight single-family houses on a half-acre of land.

July 25, 2021 - Urbanize Atlanta

Adams Morgan pedestrian zone during COVID-19 pandemic

The Most Complete Map of U.S. Pedestrian Risk Yet

New research published by the Journal of Transport and Land Use analyzes tens of thousands of pedestrian fatalities over 16 years in the United States.

July 20, 2021 - Streetsblog USA

Tall buildings in Downtown Phoenix.

Arizona's Tallest Building Will Soon Be Vacant

The tallest building in the Grand Canyon State will enter a new era.

July 21, 2021 - KJZZ

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.