Understanding Understanding with Richard Saul Wurman

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Understanding Understanding with Richard Saul Wurman


Described by Fortune magazine as an “intellectual hedonist” with a “hummingbird mind,” Richard Saul Wurman has always sought ways to make the complex clear. He has written, designed and published 83 books on topics ranging from football and healthcare to city guides, as well as two books on Louis I Kahn (including the first to be published on him in 1962), his mentor, but he likes to say that they all spring from the same place – his ignorance.

Wurman’s first book, published when he was 26, features models of 50 world cities on a uniform scale. His latest book is called 33: Understanding Change & the Change in Understanding.

Wurman created 22 ACCESS city guides. Other volumes he created focus on topics such as football and the 1984 Olympics. His road atlas employed similar techniques to elucidate U.S. geography and transportation networks. His breakthrough book was Information Anxiety, published in 1989. Several of his books are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He coined the term information architect and the acronym LATCH, referring to the organization of information and A NOSE referring to 5 methods of innovation.

Wurman chaired the IDCA Conference in 1972, the First Federal Design assembly in 1973, and the annual AIA Conference in 1976.

He continues to work with ESRI and @radical.media on his comparative cartographic initiative for mapping urban settings, 19.20.21. which will culminate in the creation of a network of live Urban Observatories⎮ around the world. See www.urbanobservatory.org/preview.

Note: All credit goes to the authors and creators. Some links may result in financial compensation.


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  1. This was the most beautiful conversation that I had listening! Thank you! Namastê!

  2. I loved this interview. Very spiritual indeed. Lively, honest and lovely! Thank you so much!

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