Cities in context

The “Cities in Context” Project began in January, 2018, based on C.R. Wolfe, “Forget ‘Smart’—We Need Context Cities,” Planetizen, December 17, 2018. The Project purpose is to assess and integrate methods to sustain city essence and local context (vernacular, and/or unique city histories and cultures), at multiple urban scales. The Project presents an immersive perspective based on the “LEARN Method” and “context keys.”

Research team:

  • Charles R. Wolfe
  • Tigran Haas

The four main project goals and accomplishments for 2019 were as follows:

Stockholm, Odenplan, Photo: C.R.Wolfe - UWE

Goal 1 was to refine and complete the research agenda set in 2018, perform research (including related student work), and secure a publisher for the Project’s book. During 2019, two masters-level
students assisted with the Project, including completion of literature searches and completion of a Stockholm case study regarding the appropriate context for location of a flagship Apple Store. C.R.
Wolfe secured Rowman & Littlefield (New York/ London) as publisher for Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character: Principles and Best Practices. The book manuscript has received favorable comments from
the Rowman & Littlefield editor, and academic and practitioner “beta readers” in the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Australia. Estimated publication: November-December 2020.

Cover picture of the book "Urbanism without Effort"

Goal 2 was to assure issuance, distribution and promotion of a revised edition of Wolfe, C.R. Urbanism

Without Effort (UWE) (Island Press, 2013) as a revised edition in 2018/19. UWE, and it’s more applied companion, Seeing the Better City, (Island Press, 2017) are precursors to the “Cities in Context” baseline approach, arguing for threshold establishment and contextual analyses of local built, sociocultural and intangible urban environments. In January, 2019, Island Press released the paperback Urbanism Without Effort, rev. ed. 2019. C.R. Wolfe presented the book multiple times during 2019 including in Next City and at presentations such as the European Placemaking Conference in Valencia in June 2019 and Connected Places Catapult in London in October 2019.

Goal 3  was to conduct continued in-person and video interviews (that began with the extensive Delphi Conversation III in Stockholm in September 2018) on the “Cities in Context” theme, with international academics and practitioners. These interviews took place throughout 2019. They inform the case studies and collaborations that will appear in Sustaining a City’s Culture and Character. Venues included London, Paris, Kiruna, Stockholm, Kiruna (Sweden), Macroom (Ireland), Nice (France), Shanghai, Melbourne, Norwich (UK), and featured diverse subjects such as Bloomberg Philanthropies staff, a Senior Partner at Foster & Partners, a business improvement district CEO, and prominent academics.

Goal 4  was to author several short articles in respected online publications on the “Cities in Context” theme and related social media, bringing attention to the Centre’s work. In 2019, C.R Wolfe authored a “Viewpoint” pending in The Journal of Public Space, “LEARNing the City: Beyond the Urban Diary.” He also authored three short Planetizen articles that related to Project subtopics of urban context, character and authenticity. Two were reproduced in the Congress for the New Urbanism’s CNU Public Square.

Belongs to: Centre for the Future of Places
Last changed: Apr 30, 2020