the unstaged beauty of urbanism without effort


I have become a zealous advocate for each of us carefully observing the fundamental relationships between people and cities, particularly when it is possible to capture moments that work, seemingly without effort.

Here we see a downtown public space, and simple chess board intervention.

Witness the result, including the camaraderie of strangers and astute observers. The family at play seems as important as the post-match decorum, not to mention the transit stop in the background.

This is not a staged photo. But I would venture that it shows, spontaneously, the very stage sought by over-complex formulations and the populist tenets of today’s urbanism.

Image composed by the author in Seattle’s Westlake Park. Click on the image for more detail. © 2009-2013 myurbanistAll Rights Reserved. Do not copy.

For more information on the role of personal experience in understanding the changing city, see Urbanism Without Effortan e-book from Island Press.

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