Revisiting the Common Sense Elements of City Life

Chuck Wolfe revisits five instances of how we can learn from the urbanism we already have.

August 8, 2014, 6:00 AM PDT

By Charles R. Wolfe @crwolfelaw


Elfreth's Alley

Céline / Flickr

Writing in The Huffington Post, Chuck Wolfe describes five instances of urban conduct—or “teaching moments”framed by common sense, ingrained patterns, readily adapted to best practices by watchful eyes. In the remainder of the article, he describes how to capture such common sense portraits of the urban environment for later use, and why. Among his conclusions:

CommonSenseUrb_ChuckWolfe11

Inadvertence as a First Principle of Urbanism

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Cities: Where Children Learn to Fly

Seattle's Volunteer Park displays how an urban open space can become a theater for display of simple, yet universal, human hopes and dreams.

Clarifying Urban Property Rights, Without Effort

In today's shareable city, some forms of property are difficult for many people to surrender to chance.  A leftover holiday lawn ornament--a likely award winner in a conjectural "you can't make this stuff up" competition--restates Wolfe's argument from his book, Urbanism Without Effort, that the urbanism we already have is often the best urbanism of all.

Activating Common Sense in The City

In conclusion, Wolfe revisits traditional and interventionist forms of the "sit-able city". As he emphasizes:

There is often nothing new in common sense human endeavors, planned or otherwise. What will work going forward is, very simply, often what has worked before.

Thursday, August 7, 2014 in The Huffington Post

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