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The Human Dimension of the Physical City

In his latest two contributions from the south of France, Chuck Wolfe reminds urbanists of the backdrop of the human dimension of affinity, conversation and daily rituals that stand behind the physical, human scale.
November 18, 2014, 10am PST | Charles R. Wolfe | @crwolfelaw
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In two Huffington Post articles, Wolfe uses photographs and stories of small-scale interactions and daily rituals to go behind the readily ascertainable built environments of cities and towns

He stresses that every urbanist should remember that "[t]he physical city means less without the stories behind building facades":

Sometimes we only learn such lessons while abroad, when acclimating to a new, temporary neighborhood, or when answering a question as simple as the one just stated.  After all, the human dimension, of affinity and conversation is broader, and arguably more important, than the human scale that we hear so much about.

In one example, Wolfe describes how inadvertent documentation of a mixed-use building moved from an awkward encounter to international affinity over old coins and travel.

Two more examples describe the daily rituals of small-scale commercial transactions, noting how these "simple interactions offer valuable lessons for how to live in neighborhoods and cities... as if time had turned back to something that has always been or something that we are always searching for".

His summary reminder in both articles: Recall the real dynamics of city life, the connections behind the built environment that we, at first, more readily see.

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Published on Monday, November 17, 2014 in The Huffington Post
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