The author of the new book "Seeing the Better City" (Island Press) explains the importance of practiced skills of observation, and how a "vocabulary of looking" can be a foundation for participation in civic discussion.
It was clear to the City of Toronto that engaging less confident cyclists that make up 60% of the population, yet seldom come to community meetings, might be the key to dramatic mode shifts in the city. Here's how it happened.
Features like blank street facades literally turn us off, decreasing mental stimulation and bringing on restlessness and stress. Research points to worrying consequences for people who find their city, well, boring.
As the Occupy Movement, Gezi Park protests, and everyday urban reclamation projects demonstrate, power and politics are embedded in place. As public spaces disappear, reclaiming the commons becomes increasingly important, say Leo Hollis.