About Urbanism Without Effort

This beautifully illustrated short e-book explores the idea that to create vibrant, sustainable urban areas for the long term, we must first understand what happens naturally when people congregate in cities—innate, unprompted interactions of urban dwellers with each other and their surrounding urban and physical environment.

Wolfe elaborates on the perspective that the underlying rationales for urban policy, planning and regulation are best understood from a historical perspective and in a better understanding of the everyday uses of urban space. To make his case, Wolfe draws on his years of writing about urbanism as well as his professional experiences as a land use and environmental lawyer and offers compelling case study vignettes from everyday urban life. Successful community, Wolfe argues, is among the first principles of what makes humans feel happy, and therefore city dwellers invariably celebrate environments where and when they can coexist safely, in a mutually supportive way.

Wolfe 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.

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