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Essay: Nicole Huber, Ralph Stern

From the American West to West Berlin

From the American West to West Berlin Born in Germany in 1945, just months after the end of World War II, the film director Wim Wenders sought to make sense of the "ruin landscapes" of the nation's cities through personal and professional exploration of the wide-open landscapes of the American West. As Nicole Huber and Ralph Stern write, "The American West — and the American Western — served a specific and telling purpose for the postwar German West: to envision both traumatic upheaval and utopian projection."

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Essay: Peter Del Tredici

The Flora of the Future

The Flora of the Future The native plants movement has got it all wrong, says botanist Peter Del Tredici: “Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes.” In an engaging photo survey of ecological niches in the city, Del Tredici makes the case for spontaneous urban plants as flora of the future.

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Essay: Chris Reed & Nina-Marie Lister

Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies

Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies The word “ecology” has been co-opted so widely that it has lost real meaning, yet ecological thinking remains a powerful lens for understanding complex adaptive systems. In this rigorous overview of the term's origins and evolution, Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister explain how contemporary ecological models of “open-endedness, flexibility, resilience and adaptation” can inform design thinking.

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Essay: Sandy Isenstadt

Good Night

Good Night A century ago, electric light revolutionized the experience of city life. Today the development of remarkable new technologies, from solid-state LEDs to sophisticated controls, is producing nothing less than another renaissance of urban lighting. As Sandy Isenstadt says, "The past two decades have seen staggering innovations in lighting design and technology — entirely new ways of thinking about cities at night. The Edison bulb remained nearly unchanged for more than a century; today new sources and new controls appear one after another."

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Essay: Kenny Cupers

The Social Project

The Social Project In the mid-20th century, France, like many nations, sponsored an ambitious program of public housing. Kenny Cupers assesses the complex architectural and political legacy of this agenda, and argues that we too often accept simplistic interpretations of postwar public projects. As he says, "Never before — and not since — were modernization and modernism so pervasive and so closely allied. Never before was modern architecture built on such a massive scale, and never before was the regional landscape reshaped so definitively."

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Gallery: Anna Harris & Thomas Fuller

The Night-Side of Hospitals

The Night-Side of Hospitals Inside a Melbourne hospital, ethnographer Anna Harris and photographer Thomas Fuller trace the blurry line between public and private space. Here, migrant doctors gather to study for exams, use the coffee machines and photocopiers, and try to hold on to a professional identity on the fringes of a medical system that does not acknowledge their presence.

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Essay: Wendy Rawlings

Food and Worker Safety Across the Globe: A Nervous and Incomplete Case Study

Food and Worker Safety Across the Globe: A Nervous and Incomplete Case Study “So basically we are talking about commerce. Commerce in lettuce, spinach, and iPads. Also, at some point, there should be a conversation about knockoff Prada bags and prescription drugs that one can buy over the Internet. But before that, I want to talk about a product called n-hexane.” As her niece lies dying of kidney failure, Wendy Rawlings traces the effects of neoliberalism from Salinas to Shenzhen.

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Essay: Richard Campanella

Hating Bourbon Street

Hating Bourbon Street “The street is named Bourbon, the city is New Orleans, and the story is fundamentally American.” It’s also roundly dismissed by the cultural elite. But geographer Richard Campanella thinks we have much to learn by studying how Bourbon Street has thrived “without the benefit of a corporate structure, a team of experts, a board of directors or a marketing branch.” Never mind the politics of authenticity, Campanella says; Bourbonites “measure success the old-fashioned way: by the millions.”

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Review: Jonathan Massey

“The Spectacle of Growth”

“The Spectacle of Growth” When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was running for Brazil’s presidency, more than a decade ago, he promised to cultivate a “spectacle of growth.” Now Brazil is swept up in a massive wave of development, capped by preparations for hosting the World Cup and Olympic Games. In a review of the São Paulo Architecture Biennial, Jonathan Massey considers architectural and artistic responses to the rapid urbanization: “Who is benefiting, and who is being displaced or excluded? What can architects and citizens do to exert leverage on processes at once local and global?”

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Other Recent Posts


Sasha Bezzubov & Aaron Rothman: Landscape Forensics
Pedro Levi Bismarck: Architecture and the Aestheticization of Politics
Marc Wilson & Patrick Sykes: The Last Stand
Joseph Redwood-Martinez: A Necessary Incompleteness
Simon Sadler: TEDification versus Edification
Belmont Freeman: "The moment for something to happen"
David Heymann: A Life in Ruins
Bernheimer Architecture with Kate Bernheimer: Fairy Tale Architecture: The Juniper Tree
studio SUMO with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer : Fairy Tale Architecture: Why the Sun and Moon Live in the Sky
Rice+Lipka with Kate Bernheimer & Andrew Bernheimer: Fairy Tale Architecture: The Library of Babel
André Giesemann & Aaron Rothman: Life of the Party
Mitch Epstein & Eric William Carroll: American Power: Live
Owen Edwards: A Tower in Manhattan
Peter Bo Rappmund: 800 Miles: Photographing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
Dennis DeHart: Heavy Metal
Jim Williamson: Dallas Is a Story I Tell
Zeuler R. M. de A. Lima: Lina Bo Bardi and the Architecture of Everyday Culture
Shannon Mattern: Methodolatry and the Art of Measure
Keith Eggener: When Buildings Kill
Dan Hancox: The Village Against the World


Featured: Landscape







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Water/Front

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Partner News: Aarhus School of Architecture

Joint masters program on sustainability

Joint masters program on sustainabilityAarhus School of Architecture is partnering with Tsinghua University's Department of Architecture in a Masters program in Energy and Green Architecture.

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Partner News: UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley to Host The City + Water Conference

UC Berkeley to Host The City + Water ConferenceThe conference will be held on February 28.

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Event: Places Editors

Mextrópoli: 1st International Festival of Architecture and the City

Mextrópoli: 1st International Festival of Architecture and the CityMextrópoli, the First International Festival of Architecture and the City, sponsored by Arquine, will take place March 22 - 26, 2014 in Mexico City.

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Partner News: MIT

Jennifer Pahlka Receives the Kevin Lynch Award

Jennifer Pahlka Receives the Kevin Lynch AwardJennifer Pahlka, the founder of Code for America, receives the Kevin Lynch award from the MIT School of Architecture + Planning.

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Partner News: Aarhus School of Architecture

Aarhus School of Architecture Appoints New Prorector

Aarhus School of Architecture Appoints New ProrectorTrine Berthold will focus on international cooperation and strengthening the school's ties to practice.

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Sponsor News: Holcim Foundation

The 4th International Holcim Award Entry Process is Now Open

The 4th International Holcim Award Entry Process is Now OpenThe Holcim Foundation seeks projects and visions that contribute to a more sustainable built environment.

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Partner News: University of Washington

John Schaufelberger Appointed Dean of UW College of Built Environments

John Schaufelberger Appointed Dean of UW College of Built EnvironmentsProfessor Schaufelberger, who has been with the University of Washington since 1994, assumed the deanship on November 1.

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News: Places Editors

We’re Launching a New Site: Places Wire

We’re Launching a New Site: Places WirePlaces Journal is pleased to announce the launch of Places Wire, a companion site that will round up leading news and commentary on architecture, landscape and urbanism.

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Remembrance: Places Editors

Samina Quraeshi, 1944 – 2013

Samina Quraeshi, 1944 – 2013Samina Quraeshi, an influential artist, designer, author and educator, who dedicated her career to encouraging greater awareness and understanding of her native Pakistan, and who was for many years a valued member of Places Journal's board of directors, died earlier this fall.

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Places Print Archive

Places Journal

Images that Motivate
Winter 1998

Manufactured Light [Images that Motivate]

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City of Words [Speaking of Places]


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