Green book review: Urbanism Without Effort by Charles Wolfe
Urbanism is is gaining more attention these days as we're heading towards a planet where the vast majority of people live in cities, not to mention the fact that as Alex Steffen claims we can't effectively fight climate change without looking first at the way our cities are built.
The book we review today is exploring this issue in great depth and is an important addition to the ongoing discussion about urbanism. The book is:
Urbanism Without Effort by Charles R. Wolfe (publisher: Island Press)
What this book is about?
This beautifully illustrated short e-book explores the idea that to create vibrant, sustainable cities, we must first understand what happens naturally when people congregate in cities – innate, unprompted interactions of urban dwellers with each other and their surrounding environment. Good places are rooted in acknowledgement of a city’s history and the everyday uses of urban space.
Wolfe argues that city dwellers invariably celebrate environments where and when they can coexist safely, in a mutually supportive way and believes such celebration is most interesting when it occurs spontaneously – seemingly without effort. He contends it is critical to first isolate these spontaneous and latent examples of successful urban land use, before applying any prescriptive government policies or initiatives.
Wolfe provides something rare in contemporary urbanist writing – rich illustrations and examples from real life – both historical and current. His writing about the past and the future of urban form offers readers inspiration, historical context, and a better understanding of how a sustainable, inviting urban environment is created.