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Reading Urban Landscapes

What do we see when we look closely at the cities that surround us?  One of the most important tools in the urbanist’s tool kit is close observation—the ability to “read” the landscape, morphology, architecture, and social life of the city.  This is not simply a matter of “intuition”; unless you know a place intimately, it requires a lot of work, patience, and practice.  And it is not just “looking around”; rather, we build up our understanding of urban landscapes through a range of documentary, interpretive, and analytical methods, such as fieldwork, photographysite studies, archival research, visual analysis, mapping, drawing, and deep listening. 


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