Seeing better cities through your urban diary, with Chuck Wolfe


More than street photography.

Chuck’s latest book is Seeing the Better City: How to Explore, Observe, and Improve Urban Space [pre-order on Amazon]. He loves street photography, but Chuck’s not interested in persuading us to amass a digital photo album just because it’s fun. He’s trying to motivate us to get beyond observation for observation’s sake. Ladies and gentlemen, enter the urban diary.

You may be familiar with mobile apps for reporting potholes, dead street trees, or clogged drains. Those are easily identified. But what about the human experience? Listen to Chuck talk about the important distinction between “see-click-fix” and understanding our interaction with the built and natural environments surrounding us.


Using your camera as a way to think.

Anne Whiston Spirn is a landscape architect mentioned in Chuck’s book. She points out how people own and use cameras more than ever, but so few people use cameras as a way to think. (Hang on, maybe I need to delete some shots in my Instagram feed…)

Let’s say, hypothetically of course, that I want to start thinking. With my camera, anyway. Smartphone charged, comfortable shoes on my feet, the door closes behind me. I’m on a mission to observe my environment. Now what? Chuck has some ideas to get you started.


The urban diary.

He’s not going to give away all the goods, but you’re going to be inspired to use your smartphone or camera differently. Listen, I always have a camera nearby and Chuck gave me some ideas.


See the better city.

After compiling and sharing our urban diaries, how will we know what the better city looks like? How will we know when we find it? I want closure, Chuck!


Connect with Chuck

Twitter is the best place to start a conversation with Chuck Wolfe:

But you should also check out the website for his new book:


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