IMPROVE YOUR CITY

Through critical observation

IMPROVE YOUR CITY

Through critical observation

Our Mission

 

  • Transform how our cities evolve using visual storytelling
  • Encourage participation by a diversity of voices
  • Promote equitable policies, plans, and decisions

Visual imagery is a powerful, necessary tool to observe and interpret cities. It sets aside academic jargon that saturates our discussions of cities, and provides a universal language for all.

Chuck Wolfe

Founder and Principal Advisor

Happenings

SBC Group Principles Help American Students Explore London

On July 3, Chuck Wolfe spent the day consulting on the LENS Method and urban diary tool with UK Architecture Study Abroad students from the University of Idaho.
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Urban Diary Tool Featured at European Placemaking Week

On June 13 and 14 in Valencia, Chuck Wolfe framed the first principles of city life from Urbanism Without Effort--and how to observe them using urban diaries and the LENS Method (from Seeing the Better City)--in two presentations at European Placemaking Week...
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Four Journal Reviews Embrace Urban Diary Approach

With two recent 2019 reviews, the SBC Group's urban observation methods have now been featured in four scholarly journal reviews since the publication of Seeing the Better City (Urban Morphology, Journal of Urban Technology, Built Environment, and Journal of Planning...
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Urbanism Without Effort Paperback is Here

Chuck Wolfe's first book, Urbanism Without Effort, is now available as an updated and revised paperback from Island Press.  The book, originally published in e-book only form in 2013, first developed the urban diary tool and forms the foundation of SBC Group...
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Urban Thinkers Campus Report Now Available

The extensive report is now available, which summarizes the Cairns and Townsville, Australia Urban Thinkers Campus in June, 2018.  The Campus embraced SBC urban diary concepts to assess the potential for improvement of public health in tropical Australian Cities....
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Our Services

Speaking

Chuck participates in regular speaking engagements, panels, and keynotes at events around the world. He speaks about transportation, density, affordability, public space, urban observation methods, and more. His speaking engagements are often paired with guided explorations around the host city or surrounding neighborhoods.

Explorations

The first step in improving your city is knowing what is already there. Chuck facilitates group explorations of urban spaces affected by plans, policies, or other factors like rapid growth. These explorations show how to:

  • Analyze past, present, and future realities for a place
  • Visually document what you observe
  • Assess impacts of change
  • Use images to influence decision-making

Participants use Chuck’s Urban Diary tool during these explorations to observe and document what they find.

Consulting

The Seeing Better Cities Group (SBC) team has extensive experience in land use law, urban policy and planning, and building livable cities. We help decision makers create informed plans, policies, and community involvement strategies for diverse populations, as well as provide advice on apps, platforms, and visual assessment techniques. We also collaborate with civic entrepreneurs and other placemaking innovators on urban policy and related initiatives.

Our approach is distinguished by our emphasis on visual narratives that promote inclusiveness, awareness, and diversity for everyone, not just the most powerful and privileged.

 

The Urban Diary Tool

The Urban Diary tool was developed by Chuck Wolfe to observe and document the cities in which we live, through photographs, sketches, or notes that catalog the influences of neighborhood dynamics, public transportation, and other elements that impact city life.  The Urban Diary uses the LENS method (Look, Explore, Narrate, and Summarize) introduced by Chuck in his two books, Seeing the Better City and the newly revised Urbanism Without Effort.

Read “A Visual Tool for Guiding Urban Change”

– Governing.com