Canal with buildings on either side in Beijing China
Beijing, China. Image courtesy of Author.

Countless people have inspired, informed and supported this book—some more directly than others, but all equally important. That being the case, I have to apologize in advance for not being able to name everybody individually. For those I miss, hopefully

First and foremost, a warm thanks to the many students I’ve had over the years at the University of British Columbia in the School of Community and Regional Planning and Environmental Design programs, as well as the Interior Design program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, who have inspired me with your creativity, curiosity, and constant questions. Your optimism and energy truly drove me to write this in the hopes that you might find it useful as you go about transforming the world.

William Marsh and Doug Paterson stand out as a couple of wonderful people who have informally contributed to this book through their passion for the natural and built worlds, as well as their extreme willingness to share some of their many insights about teaching, design, nature and simply being conscientious, responsible humans beings. I’d be remiss if I did not mention Paul de Greeff who taught with Will and graciously shared his understanding of patterns in the world alongside Jedi Master Marsh. Martin Lewis also deserves a spotlight in this group, as someone who never shies away from calling me out when necessary and sharing his insights about architecture and cities between discussing hockey.

This book would never have come in to existence without Ron Kellett, who introduced me to the work of Doxiadis and sparked my obsession with settlement patterns, in general. This went hand-in-hand with his unpretentious mentoring as I helped teach courses on settlements by his side. Cynthia Girling’s support was also critical, as someone who seemed to appreciate my thinking and teaching methods and, as a result, was kind enough to ask me back to teach in the Landscape and Environmental Design programs for so many years.

This opened the door to work alongside other amazing folks, such as Patrick Condon whose work intersected well with mine. Moreover, his incredible ability to explain complex things in simple, accessible ways—a rarity in the academic world—was pivotal not only to my teaching, but also the tone for all my writing: “How would PC say this?” is always at the back of my mind. 🙂

I can’t thank Penny Gurstein and Maged Senbel enough for warmly welcoming me into the School of Community and Regional Planning, after teaching Environmental Design and allowing me to test out my ideas with planning students. This has been crucial in the creation of this book.

Although not directly involved, Matthew Blackett and all his continued support writing for Spacing Magazine and offering the opportunity to be the Editor-in-Chief for Spacing Vancouver, were vital for practicing my writing and getting things out to a broader readership. This also gave me access to countless books—many of which I reviewed—that are referred to in The Laws of Settlements.

I’d also like to thank Charles Montgomery, who kindly invited me to help with some of his Happy City, allowing me a deeper understanding of his amazing research on happiness and cities.

Matt Hern deserves special acknowledgement not only as prolific writer of incredible books, but also for his remarkable generosity in helping edit the book and remind me constantly to say what I need to say and nothing more. His insights and honesty were pivotal in sharpening the message of the book while reducing the word count.

Close friends and family also played their part in the creation of the book and I want to thank my brother and sister-in-law—Dennis and Paola—as well as Kim and Benji Berger for contributing some beautiful photographs of Cuenca & Segovia in Spain and Argentina & Chile, respectively. The amazingly talented Murielle Faifman contributed beautiful images of Paris and Panama City, while the wonderful duo—Emily and Owen—at Point Two Design provided the amazing cover image of the Nile Delta.

I definitely cannot forget Caroline Toth—“Graphic Designer Extraordinaire”—who provided me with essential graphic design tips and suggestions that made all the difference in the look and visual coherence of the book.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to my amazing wife. Not only has she been infinitely patient with my late hours writing and putting this book together, but she was—and continues to be—my most critical and candid editor. She went through and red-lined the book multiple times, and with no thought to ego boosting, ensured that it would be accessible to anybody who picked it up.


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The Laws of Settlement Copyright © 2020 by Erick Villagomez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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