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Essays


06.23.14: Timothy M. Rohan

Scenographic Urbanism: Paul Rudolph and the Public Realm
On Places, Timothy Rohan offers a detailed look at Paul Rudolph's masterful — and dramatic — public projects of the early 1960s.
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06.09.14: Shannon Mattern

Library as Infrastructure
On Places, Shannon Mattern considers the many faces of the public library, from social service center to innovation lab, and asks just how far we can stretch the library’s program.
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05.12.14: Reinhold Martin

Fundamental #13
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the theme of this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, and asks difficult questions about architectural complicity in the global real estate system.
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04.28.14: Shannon Mattern

Interfacing Urban Intelligence
On Places, Shannon Mattern argues that as we enter the era of so-called “smart” cities, we need to consider the point of engagement where citizens interface with the city’s operating system.
READ MORE

04.22.14: Nicole Huber & Ralph Stern

From the American West to West Berlin
On Places, Nicole Huber and Ralph Stern explore the "border crossings" of Wim Wenders — the director's cinematic journeys from Paris, Texas to the West Berlin of The Wings of Desire.
READ MORE

04.17.14: Peter Del Tredici

The Flora of the Future
On Places, botanist Peter Del Tredici presents a photo survey of urban ecological niches and the wild plants making their home in the city.
READ MORE

04.14.14: Chris Reed & Nina-Marie Lister

Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies
On Places, Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister recover a critical sense of the term “ecology” and explain how contemporary ecological models of “open-endedness, flexibility, resilience and adaptation” can inform design thinking.
READ MORE

04.08.14: Sandy Isenstadt

Good Night
On Places, Sandy Isenstadt explores our remarkable new era of urban lighting design and technology, which is inspiring "entirely new ways of thinking about the city at night."
READ MORE

04.02.14: Kenny Cupers

The Social Project
On Places, Kenny Cupers explores the complex architectural and social legacy of postwar public housing in the banlieues that ring contemporary Paris.
READ MORE

03.17.14: Wendy Rawlings

Food and Worker Safety Across the Globe: A Nervous and Incomplete Case Study
As her niece lies dying of kidney failure, Wendy Rawlings traces the effects of neoliberalism from Salinas to Shenzhen.
READ MORE

03.03.14: Richard Campanella

Hating Bourbon Street
On Places, Richard Campanella upbraids the Bourbon Street haters and scrutinizes the politics of authenticity in New Orleans.
READ MORE

02.10.14: Pedro Levi Bismarck

Architecture and the Aestheticization of Politics
On Places, Pedro Levi Bismarck deciphers the Turkish government plan to transform the vital public space of Taksim Gezi Park into a shopping mall with a nostalgic Ottoman facade.
READ MORE

01.21.14: Simon Sadler

TEDification versus Edification
On Places, Simon Sadler explores the magical thinking and many contradictions of the TED Talks.
READ MORE

12.02.13: Owen Edwards

A Tower in Manhattan
On Places, editor/writer Owen Edwards remembers living in — lucking into — a tower in Manhattan in the '70s, back when the city was less rich and more open.
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11.18.13: Jim Williamson

Dallas Is a Story I Tell
On Places, Jim Williamson remembers growing up in Dallas, and explores the oddity of memory, the blurring of shared national tragedy with the personal and ordinary.
READ MORE

11.05.13: Shannon Mattern

Methodolatry and the Art of Measure
On Places, Shannon Mattern surveys the new wave of urban data science projects and argues that practitioners are trending toward an obsession with data-for-data’s-sake and an idolization of method.
READ MORE

10.29.13: Keith Eggener

When Buildings Kill
On Places, Keith Eggener takes us on a tour of evil architecture in book and movies — just in time for Halloween.
READ MORE

10.22.13: Dan Hancox

The Village Against the World
On Places, Dan Hancox tells the story of a village in Andalusia that for the past three decades has been working — successfully — to create a communist utopia.
READ MORE

10.15.13: Barbara Penner

Designed-In Safety
On Places, Barbara Penner recounts mid-20th-century efforts to radically reform the design of the American bathroom — and the assorted inhibitions and taboos that got in the way.
READ MORE

10.10.13: Alexandros Washburn

Resilience in Red Hook
On Places, Alexandros Washburn, chief urban designer for New York, describes the frightening onset and complicated aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the city last October.
READ MORE

10.07.13: Anthony Townsend

Smart Cities
On Places, urban forecaster Anthony Townsend considers the vulnerability of smart cities to power failures, hackers and software bugs.
READ MORE

10.01.13: Nancy Levinson

Print and Pixel
On Places, Nancy Levinson explores the challenges of moving from a print-centric to digital-dominant world — in particular the difficulty of sustaining ambitious journalism and serious literature.
READ MORE

09.23.13: Gabrielle Esperdy

Building Data: Field Notes on the Future of the Past
On Places, Gabrielle Esperdy explores the development of an online encyclopedia of American architecture — and argues that metadata is a crucial tool for future historians.
READ MORE

09.16.13: David Salomon

The Highway Not Taken: Tony Smith and the Suburban Sublime
On Places, David Salomon explores the life and work of the artist and architect Tony Smith — including his mid-career epiphany on the New Jersey Turnpike.
READ MORE

09.04.13: Adelheid Fischer

Walking the Darkness Home
On Places, Adelheid Fischer recounts a journey to the Grand Canyon — to a dangerous and redemptive place that by turns epitomizes and defies the expectations (and clichés) of the famous landscape.
READ MORE

07.25.13: Clare Lyster

The Future of Mobility: Greening the Airport
On Places, Clare Lyster explores the new generation of green airport terminals, and argues that the next generation of sustainable design will encompass the larger environs of the entire airfield.
READ MORE

07.08.13: Joe Day

Corrections and Collections
On Places, Joe Day examines American prison and museum design and compares how the two institutional architectures have responded to cultural movements from Minimalism to post-Millenialism.
READ MORE

07.01.13: Shannon Mattern

Infrastructural Tourism
On Places, Shannon Mattern explores how media scholars and environmental artists are working to reveal the material and immaterial infrastructures that shape our lives, from the Interstate to the Internet.
READ MORE

06.25.13: Carl Skelton

Who's Your Data?
On Places, Carl Skelton argues that the public needs new tools of citizenship to participate fully in the digital cities of the near future.
READ MORE

06.17.13: Richard Ingersoll

Eat the City
On Places, Richard Ingersoll makes the case for "civic agriculture" — for reconceptualizing cities as networks of agricultural zones, from parks to allotments, with the ultimate goal of enriching the public realm.
READ MORE

06.13.13: Vishaan Chakrabarti

Building Hyperdensity and Civic Delight
On Places, Vishaan Chakrabarti argues that the hyperdense city is more prosperous, equitable, ecological and delightful — and vital to America's strength as a nation.
READ MORE

06.10.13: Eric W. Sanderson

Roads to Rails
On Places, Eric W. Sanderson lays out his plan for a modern streetcar revival, supported by municipal investment in urban rail.
READ MORE

05.30.13: Tom Vanderbilt

The City and the Sea
On Places, Tom Vanderbilt surveys the landscape and politics of New York City after Hurricane Sandy, focusing on both early response and long-range planning.
READ MORE

05.20.13: Daniel A. Barber

Hubbert’s Peak, Eneropa, and the Visualization of Renewable Energy
On Places, Daniel Barber traces the energy debates back to the postwar era, when leading scientists argued that shifting from fossil fuels to renewables was not just technically feasible but also ethically necessary.
READ MORE

05.13.13: Belmont Freeman

Digital Deception
On Places, Belmont Freeman argues it's time to grapple with the artistic and professional consequences — and ethical dilemmas — of today's ever more powerful digital rendering technologies.
READ MORE

04.29.13: Naomi Stead

Child’s Play
On Places, Naomi Stead examines the cultural perception of architecture as not simply a creative profession but also a kind of child's play — an uber-kindergarten legitimated for academic credit and professional reputation.
READ MORE

04.15.13: Lawrence Vale & Annemarie Gray

The Displacement Decathlon
On Places, Lawrence Vale and Annemarie Gray compare the cases of communities displaced by the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where plans for the 2016 Games are unfolding, and Atlanta, 20 years ago.
READ MORE

04.08.13: Phyllis Lambert

Seagram: Union of Building and Landscape
On Places, Phyllis Lambert explores the evolution of the Seagram Building, focusing on Mies van der Rohe's profound concern for the relationship between building and nature.
READ MORE

04.02.13: Ellen Dunham-Jones

The Irrational Exuberance of Rem Koolhaas
On Places, Ellen Dunham-Jones assesses the protean career of Rem Koolhaas and his provocative efforts to marry art and capitalism, radicalism and pragmatism, icon-making and city-making.
READ MORE

03.25.13: James Barilla

My Backyard Jungle
On Places, James Barilla writes about the process of turning his backyard in Columbia, South Carolina, into certified wildlife habitat.
READ MORE

03.12.13: Simon Sadler

Steve Jobs: Architect
On Places, Simon Sadler finds provocative common ground in the extraordinary careers of Steve Jobs and Rem Koolhaas, both driven "to learn about the world through the attempt to change it."
READ MORE

03.05.13: Arjun Appadurai

Housing and Hope
On Places, Arjun Appadurai explores the global challenges of housing in megacities, and argues for the relationship of secure housing to human dignity and full citizenship.
READ MORE

02.25.13: Alexandra Lange

Founding Mother: Mariana Van Rensselaer and the Rise of Criticism
On Places, Alexandra Lange explores the ongoing relevance of the late 19th-century writings of Mariana Van Rensselaer, one of the pioneers of architecture criticism in America.
READ MORE

02.18.13: Daniel Brook

Head of the Dragon: The Rise of New Shanghai
On Places, Daniel recounts the fast-forward and often ruthless reinvention of Shanghai — its transformation from moth-balled relic of Maoism to one of the world's most dynamic and contradictory cities.
READ MORE

02.12.13: Mitchell Schwarzer

The Emergence of Container Urbanism
On Places, Mitchell Schwarzer charts the rise of container urbanism from the mid 20th century to now, focusing especially on the dynamic potential of repurposed shipping containers to shape a new kind of city life.
READ MORE

01.31.13: Kristi Dykema Cheramie & Michael Pasquier

The Lost Graves of the Morganza Floodway
On Places, Kristi Dykema Cheramie and Michael Pasquier tell the story of a small Louisiana church relocated by Mississippi River engineers so the area could be designated as floodable territory.
READ MORE

01.28.13: Richard Campanella

Beneficial Use: Toward Balancing America's (Sediment) Budget
On Places, Richard Campanella argues that the promethean geo-engineering of our river systems has resulted in the catastrophic erosion of our coasts — and proposes one potential solution.
READ MORE

01.24.13: Reinhold Martin

Public and Common(s)
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the philosophical understandings of the terms public and commons, from the 20th-century treatises of Arendt and Habermas to recent books by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
READ MORE

01.14.13: Shannon Mattern

Paju Bookcity: The Next Chapter
On Places, Shannon Mattern visits Paju Bookcity in South Korea— a special economic zone dedicated to books —and high-style architecture — now being remade for the digital era.
READ MORE

01.08.13: Adelheid Fischer

What Falls to Hand
On Places, Adelheid Fischer examines the potential of jugaad — the Indian practice of doing more with less — to "frame a global philosophy of sustainable innovation,"
READ MORE

12.11.12: Naomi Stead

Writ Small
On Places, Naomi Stead explores the presentation of architecture in children's literature, with a special focus on stories about houses and the meaning of home.
READ MORE

11.27.12: Andrew Herscher

The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit
On Places, Andrew Herscher challenges the usual view of Detroit's decline: "What if Detroit has not only fallen apart and emptied out but also become a new sort of urban formation that only appears depleted through the lens of conventional urbanism?"
READ MORE

11.19.12: Nicola Waldron

The Land Up North
On Places, an essay for Thanksgiving week, by Nicola Waldron, about the cycles of life and land.
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11.13.12: Barbara Penner

“We shall deal here with humble things”
On Places, Barbara Penner considers the design, culture and politics of the bathroom — and how "this smallest of domestic rooms is linked to the larger worlds of engineering and infrastructure."
READ MORE

11.05.12: Belmont Freeman

Past Perfect: Four Freedoms Park
On Places, Belmont Freeman reviews the controversial politics of presidential memorials, focusing especially on Four Freedoms Park in New York City, the memorial to FDR designed 40 years by Louis Kahn.
READ MORE

10.22.12: Keith Eggener

The Demolition and Afterlife of Baltimore Memorial Stadium
On Places, just in time for the World Series, Keith Eggener recounts the saga of Baltimore Memorial Stadium, and explores the relationship between civic building and collective memory.
READ MORE

10.15.12: Robert Macfarlane

Ice
On Places, Robert Macfarlane recounts his journey to the "formidably difficult" Minya Konka, in western China, which has long attracted devout Buddhists and intrepid mountaineers.
READ MORE

10.11.12: Richard Campanella

What the Nation’s Best-Educated Amateur Planners Learned from Hurricane Isaac. And Gustav. And Rita and Katrina. And Cindy, Ivan, Lili, Isidore, and Georges.
On Places, geographer Richard Campanella analyzes the many lessons that New Orleanians have learned from weathering powerful hurricanes — and he argues that the toughest test is yet to come.
READ MORE

10.08.12: Jeremy Till

Scarcity contra Austerity
On Places, Jeremy Till explores the distinction between the political ideology of austerity and the physical condition of scarcity — and argues that a sharper understanding of scarcity will enable designers to operate more creatively.
READ MORE

10.04.12: Melissa Dittmer

Lafayette Park: Living in Ordered Exhibition
On Places, Melissa Dittmer describes the experience of living in Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park in Detroit, where the glass-and-steel architecture encourages "a sense of intimacy that fosters community."
READ MORE

10.01.12: Hsiao-Hung Pai

Factory of the World: Scenes from Guangdong
On Places, journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai investigates the living and working conditions of migrant laborers in Guandgong, and what she sees as the increasing ruthlessness of Chinese urbanism.
READ MORE

09.24.12: Jeffrey Hou

Beyond Zuccotti Park: Making the Public
On Places, in the wake of Occupy Wall Street, Jeffrey Hou argues that we need to focus not only on ensuring the right to public space but also on the "making of the public as an engaged citizenry."
READ MORE

09.12.12: Despina Stratigakos

Why Architects Need Feminism
On Places, Despina Stratigakos makes the case for the next wave of feminism in architecture — and for a more sustainable and inclusive professional culture.
READ MORE

09.10.12: Gabrielle Esperdy

The Incredible True Adventures of the Architectress in America
On Places, Gabrielle Esperdy revisits "the amazing adventures" of the architect-feminists who fought for gender equality back in the '70s — and sees a powerful model for next-wave activism.
READ MORE

09.04.12: James Barilla

The Vernacular of Disaster
On Places, in the midst of storm season, James Barilla explores the links between place, weather and disaster, and the increasingly global language of environmental catastrophe.
READ MORE

07.26.12: Enrique Ramirez

Journey’s End: Wim Wenders in Texas
On Places, Enrique Ramirez explores the making of Wim Wenders's Paris, Texas, and how the strange and atmospheric film captures the elusive essence of Houston.
READ MORE

07.16.12: Steven Boyd Saum

Accidents Will Happen: Lessons on Honey, Smoked Pig Fat, Atomic Disaster and the Half-Life of Truth
On Places, an essay by an American who is hiking in a Ukrainian forest when he hears about an accident at a nearby nuclear power plant. In the land of Chernobyl — ten years after the explosion — nothing is quite as it seems.
READ MORE

07.12.12: Karen Piper

Revolution of the Thirsty
On Places, Karen Piper argues that the ongoing Egyptian Revolution is about not only political freedom but also the right to water: it is a "revolution of the thirsty."
READ MORE

07.09.12: Rudabeh Pakravan

Territory Jam: Tehran
On Places, Rudabeh Pakravan analyzes the rise of illegal satellite TV in Tehran, which allows residents to watch state-banned shows — and which has made the private home "the true public realm" in the Iranian capital.
READ MORE

06.21.12: Naomi Stead

A New Belle-Lettrism and the Future of Criticism
On Places, Naomi Stead makes the case for a radical rethinking of architecture criticism — a "new belle-lettrism" — prompted by the potential of online media.
READ MORE

06.11.12: Keller Easterling

Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft
On Places, Keller Easterling explores the phenomenal rise of the free zone — an opportunistic urban hybrid that's powered the rise of glittering world cities like Singapore and Dubai.
READ MORE

06.07.12: Lance Hosey

The Shape of Green: Aesthetic Imperatives
On Places, Lance Hosey explores the relationship of sustainability to technology and aesthetics.
READ MORE

06.04.12: David Heymann

An Un-flushable Urinal: The Aesthetic Potential of Sustainability
On Places, David Heymann explores the unmet challenge of developing the "radical aesthetic potential" of sustainability in architecture.
READ MORE

05.29.12: Rolf Potts

Tourist Snapshots
On Places, as the summer season starts, writer Rolf Potts recollects scenes from his life as a traveler with a camera, from a 9th-grade civics class trip  to Washington to later journeys around the world.
READ MORE

05.22.12: Shannon Mattern

Marginalia: Little Libraries in the Urban Margins
On Places, Shannon Mattern surveys the rise of the little library, of the myriad pop-up, guerrilla and ad-hoc libraries that build on the DIY energy and political edge of tactical urbanism. 
READ MORE

05.14.12: Keith Eggener

The Uses of Daylight
On Places, Keith Eggener casts new light on the little-known Boley Building in Kansas City, by Louis Curtiss, which featured one of the first glass curtain walls in America.
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05.07.12: An Xiao Mina

Art Village: A Year in Caochangdi
On Places, An Xiao Mina describes her volatile year in the Beijing arts district of Caochangdi, which was being threatened with demolition.
READ MORE

04.26.12: Mark Feldman

Visualizing the Ends of Oil
On Places, Mark Feldman looks closely at how the photographers Edward Burtynsky and Chris Jordan have each struggled to visualize and critique the effects of our dependence on oil.
READ MORE

04.23.12: Thomas Fisher

Design’s Invisible Century
On Places, Tom Fisher explores the emerging "invisible century" of design — it's time, he argues, for designers to grapple not just with physical objects but also with the underlying processes that influence our buildings and landscapes.
READ MORE

04.19.12: Josh Sides

20 Years Later: Legacies of the Los Angeles Riots
On Places, California historian Josh Sides assesses the dynamic changes in South Los Angeles in the 20 years since the riots of 1992.
READ MORE

04.16.12: Aaron Paley & Amanda Berman

CicLAvia: Reimagining the Streets of Los Angeles
On Places, Aaron Paley and Amanda Berman argue that the semi-annual CicLAvia — which bans cars from parts of L.A. — is inspiring Angelenos to imagine a new urban future.
READ MORE

04.10.12: Jerry Herron

The Last Pedestrians
On Places, Jerry Herron traces the intersecting lives of architect Albert Kahn, artist Diego Rivera and industrialist Edsel Ford — and how they all shaped the visioin of Detroit as industrial powerhouse.
READ MORE

04.02.12: Adelheid Fischer

Shaking Hands with a Sloth
On Places, Adelheid Fischer examines the links between biomimicry and design education, and argues that "the very act of looking to nature is conducive to creativity."
READ MORE

03.27.12: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist’s Toolkit: Project, Map, Occupy
On Places, Mimi Zeiger explores the unfolding dynamic — and tension — between the grassroots tactics of activist designers and the institutional strategies of New York's cultural leaders.
READ MORE

03.19.12: Gabrielle Esperdy

Banham's America
On Places, Gabrielle Esperdy traces the American journeys of Reyner Banham, and views the British historian in the lively tradition of European travelers who tell us Americans something important about ourselves.
READ MORE

03.12.12: Stan Allen

The Future That Is Now
On Places, Stan Allen assesses architecture education in North America during the past two decades of rapid and profound technological and social change.
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03.01.12: Alexandra Lange

How to Be an Architecture Critic
So you want to learn how to talk about buildings? Alexandra Lange suggests starting with “Sometimes We Do It Right,” Ada Louise Huxtable's classic review of the Marine Midland Bank Building in New York.
READ MORE

02.27.12: Belmont Freeman

What Is It About the Art Schools?
On Places, Belmont Freeman recounts the dramatic saga of the National Art Schools in Havana — and argues that we are overlooking the larger narrative of post-revolutionary Cuban architecture.
READ MORE

02.20.12: Lawrence Vale

Housing Chicago: Cabrini-Green to Parkside of Old Town
On Places, Lawrence Vale recounts the troubled saga of Chicago's now-demolished Cabrini-Green, and the mixed-income new-urbanist style communities that are replacing the old public housing.
READ MORE

02.14.12: Jonathan Massey

Housing and the 99 Percent
On Places, Jonathan Massey traces a history of American home ownership, from the boosterism of the 1920s to postwar suburbia to the housing bubble to current foreclosure crisis.
READ MORE

02.06.12: Keith Eggener

Louis Curtiss and the Politics of Architectural Reputation
On Places, Keith Eggener assesses the work of the neglected Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss — and highlights the politics of professional repuation.
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01.30.12: Deborah Gans

Hospitality Begins at Home
On Places, Deborah Gans visits a digital installation by Israeli artist Maya Zack and the In-House Festival in Jerusalem, and is inspired to explore the spatio-political dimensions of homeland.
READ MORE

01.23.12: Austin Troy

Thirsty City
On Places, Austin Troy assesses the massive infrastructure required to bring water to the arid American West — and the huge amount of energy that makes it possible to take a shower in Los Angeles.
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01.16.12: Will Holman

Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Design
On Places, Will Holman recounts his experience at Arcosanti, Rural Studio and YouthBuild — and describes the challenge of making a career in public-interest architecture.
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01.09.12: Jerry Herron

The Forgetting Machine: Notes Toward a History of Detroit
On Places, Jerry Herron tracks the decline and fall of his home city of Detroit, from ruin porn to the demolition of Hudson's to Henry Ford's first horseless carriage.
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01.03.12: Michael P. Branch

The Hills Are Alive
On Places, Michael Branch reflects on how deeply photography and film shape our landscape aesthetics (and how much he detests the Alpine-worshipping The Sound of Music).
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12.12.11: David Heymann

The Evil, Evil Grain Elevator
On Places, David Heymann continues his exploration of buildings and landscapes — and shows how even a building form as familiar as a grain elevator can come to seem evil.
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12.05.11: David Heymann

A Mound in the Wood
On Places, David Heymann continues his exploration of the charged relationship between architecture and landscape.
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12.01.11: Thomas Fisher

The Death and Life of Great Architecture Criticism
On Places, Tom Fisher argues that architecture criticism is ripe for bold reinvention.
READ MORE

11.28.11: David Heymann

Landscape Is Our Sex
On Places, David Heymann analyzes the logics — and illogics — of the idea that the relationship of a building to its landscape is — or should be — a key element of its design..
READ MORE

11.17.11: Lisa Findley & Liz Ogbu

South Africa: From Township to Town
On Places, Lisa Findley and Liz Ogbu describe the ongoing struggle to transform the once segrated black townships of South Africa into diverse and thriving towns.
READ MORE

11.14.11: Robert E. Lang & Arthur C. Nelson

Megapolitan America
On Places, planners Robert Lang and Arthur Nelson argue that the United States can now be understood in terms of a new geography of large and powerful "megapolitan" regions.
READ MORE

11.10.11: Andrew Ross

Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City
On Places, Andrew Ross analyzes the contradictory political and economic forces that once made Phoenix the fastest-growing city in the U.S. — and today a prime casualty of the crash.
READ MORE

11.01.11: Phillip Lopate

Above Grade: On the High Line
On Places, writer Phillip Lopate traces the pre-history of the High Line, and ponders whether New York City's elevated park will be a victim of its own success.
READ MORE

10.20.11: Jason Griffiths

Manifest Destiny: A Guide to the Essential Indifference of American Suburban Housing
On Places, British architect Jason Griffiths offers a close reading of modern American suburbia, where mass production meets the myth of the arcadian frontier.
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10.17.11: Cynthia E. Smith

Design with the Other 90%: Cities
On Places, Cynthia Smith, curator of the Cooper-Hewitt exhibition "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES," offers an in-depth look at her research into socially responsive urban design in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
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10.10.11: Enrique Ramirez

I Watch Slacker to Read Austin in the Original
On Places, architectural historian and Texas native Enrique Ramirez assesses Richard Linklater's Slacker and recalls Austin in an earlier and less self-conscious era.
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09.27.11: William L. Fox & Mark Klett

The Half-Life of History
On Places, writer William Fox and photographer Mark Klett document the semi-ruin of the WW II military airfield at Wendover, Utah, where the U.S. Air Force trained for the bombing of Hiroshima.
READ MORE

09.16.11: Barry Bergdoll

The Art of Advocacy: The Museum as Design Laboratory
On Places, MoMA's curator of architecture and design, Barry Bergdoll, describes his efforts to expand the museum's role to support experimentation and advocacy.
READ MORE

09.12.11: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist’s Toolkit: Our Cities, Ourselves
On Places, the latest installment of Mimi Zeiger's ongoing series The Interventionist's Toolkit, which explores diverse tactics and projects in DIY urbanism.
READ MORE

09.06.11: James Barilla

The Road to Exurbia
On Places, James Barilla recounts the rural pleasures of growing up in a hill town in Western Massachusetts — yet regrets the deep environmental footprint of low-density exurban life.
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08.02.11: Richard Powers

What Does Fiction Know?
On Places, novelist Richard Powers grapples with Berlin's history in this meditation on place and narrative.
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07.25.11: Rob Walker

Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places
On Places Rob Walker describes the Hypothetical Development Organization, which creates fanciful renderings of imaginary developments for vacant urban sites — a new form of "architecture fiction."
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07.18.11: Alex Schafran

Scenes from Surrendered Homes
On Places, urban historian Alex Schafran looks closely at Douglas Smith's photographs of foreclosed homes in California, and sees poignant documentation of the personal toll of the great recession.
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07.07.11: David Heymann

The Eastward-Moving House
On Places, David Heymann's "The Eastward-Moving House" — a continuation of the imaginative history of American home-building begun in J.B. Jackson's "The Westward-Moving House."
READ MORE

07.05.11: J.B. Jackson

The Westward-Moving House: Three American Houses and the People Who Lived in Them
On Places, a republication of J.B. Jackson's classic essay "The Westward-Moving House," which traces the evolution of the American house — the American dream — over three centuries and across the continent.
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06.23.11: Kian Goh

Queer Beacon
On Places, architect Kian Goh explores LGBT public spaces in contemporary New York, where activism confronts gentrification.
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06.20.11: Adelheid Fischer

Starry Night
On Places, Adelheid Fischer describes the growing night-sky movement, which advocates for the cultural and biological benefits of reducing light pollution — and keeping the Milky Way visible.
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06.16.11: Alice T. Friedman

Girl Talk: Marion Mahony Griffin, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Oak Park Studio
On Places, architectural historian Alice Friedman explores the pioneering career of architect Marion Mahony Griffin, who rose to prominence in the Oak Park office of Frank Lloyd Wright.
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06.13.11: Despina Stratigakos

What I Learned from Architect Barbie
Why can't architects wear pink? On Places, Despina Stratigakos describes the feminist politics that inspired Architect Barbie.
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06.09.11: Adelheid Fischer

A Home Before the End of the World
On Places, Adelheid Fischer explores our startling ignorance of the natural world — and wonders whether this is enabling the degradation of the environment.
READ MORE

06.06.11: Karen Piper

"We Just Want To Be Tourists"
On Places, Karen Piper describes a recent trip to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, where upscale adventure tourism confronted local political protest.
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05.31.11: Martin Hogue

A Short History of the Campsite
On Places, Martin Hogue traces a history of the campsite, from early 20th-century wilderness camps to today's domesticated campgrounds, where the amenities include day spas and wi-fi.
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05.24.11: Michael Maltzan

No More Play
On Places, Michael Maltzan argues that Los Angeles is on the brink of its latest transformation — and at a point where "the very word city no longer applies."
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05.05.11: Donald Judd & Elizabeth Felicella

101 Spring Street
On Places, an essay by Donald Judd on the Soho building where he lived and worked, and selected images of its interiors, by New York photographer Elizabeth Felicella.
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04.27.11: Timothy Mennel

Jane Jacobs, Andy Warhol, and the Kind of Problem a Community Is
On Places, Tim Mennel compares the radically different New York worlds of Andy Warhol's Factory and Jane Jacobs's Village — and comes to some provocative conclusions.
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04.25.11: Thomas J. Campanella

Jane Jacobs and the Death and Life of American Planning
On Places, Thomas Campanella evaluates the complex legacy Jane Jacobs, including the ongoing marginalization of the urban planning profession.
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04.18.11: Timothy Beatley

Blue Urbanism: The City and the Ocean
On Places, planning professor Tim Beatley makes a case for blue urbanism — a new planning focus on how the design of cities affects the health of the planet's oceans.
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04.05.11: Michael Light & David L. Ulin

L.A. Day/L.A. Night
On Places, a portfolio of images by photographer Michael Light, exploring Los Angeles in the day and at night, with an essay by David L. Ulin.
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03.28.11: Mark Lamster

The Architectural Monograph: A Defense
On Places, Mark Lamster asks: In a dynamic era for practice and publishing, what is the future of the architectural monograph?
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03.21.11: Kristi Dykema Cheramie

The Scale of Nature: Modeling the Mississippi River
On Places, Kristi Dykema Cheramie explores the ruins of the abandoned Mississippi River Basin Model and ponders the decades-long battle to control the great river.
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03.14.11: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist's Toolkit: Posters, Pamphlets and Guides
On Places, in the second of her series on The Interventionist's Toolkit, Mimi Zeiger reports on the ingenious use of print media to spur urban activism — and even revolution.
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03.10.11: Tim Culvahouse

Black in Back: Mardi Gras and the Racial Geography of New Orleans
On Places, Tim Culvahouse charts the complex racial geography of New Orleans (and looks in on the Rex and Zulu Mardi Gras parades).
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03.07.11: Beth Weinstein

The Collaborative Legacy of Merce Cunningham
On Places, architect Beth Weinstein highlights a real though often unrecognized architectural type: the diverse collaborations between major choreographers and eminent architects.
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02.27.11: Mohamed Elshahed

Tahrir Square: Social Media, Public Space
On Places, Mohamed Elshahed argues that the physical occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo was just as vital as online social media to the early success of the January 25 Revolution.
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02.21.11: Lisa Findley

Red and Gold: A Tale of Two Apartheid Museums
On Places, architect Lisa Findley explores South African apartheid museums, and the difficulties of memorializing a complex and terrible history.
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02.14.11: Wes Janz

This Is Flint, Michigan
On Places, Wes Janz probes the ongoing decline of Flint, Michigan, and wonders about the role of the architect in a city where there's more demolition than design.
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02.03.11: Tim Culvahouse

The New Orleans Corner Store
On Places, architect Tim Culvahouse continues his series on the built character of New Orleans, with a look at the humble but sociable corner store and its role in the restoration of the city.
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01.31.11: Mimi Zeiger

The Interventionist's Toolkit
On Places, Mimi Zeiger reports on what she calls "the interventionist's toolkit" — architects' and urbanists' creative responses to the economic slump.
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01.24.11: Karen Piper

Dreams, Dust and Birds: The Trashing of Owens Lake
On Places, Karen Piper narrates the latest chapter in one California's longest water wars: Los Angeles' efforts to undo the environmental damage done to Owens Lake, decades after its waters were diverted to supply the thirsty metropolis.
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01.18.11: Laura Raskin

Jorge Otero-Pailos and the Ethics of Preservation
On Places, journalist Laura Raskin profiles architect and preservationist Jorge Otero-Pailos and his "Ethics of Dust" installations at the Venice Biennale and Manifesta.
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01.10.11: Nate Berg

Burning Man and the Metropolis
On Places, Nate Berg looks at Burning Man, and how a beach party in San Francisco mushroomed into a week-long temporary city of 50,000 out in the Nevada desert.
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01.04.11: Jim Williamson

What Passes for Beauty: A Death in Texas
On Places, architect Jim Williamson recollects the aesthetic frustration and unexpected epiphany of his first project as an architect in Midland, Texas, the commission for the gravesite of the wife of an oil millionaire.
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12.13.10: David Heymann

Site, Ascendant
On Places, the last installment of David Heymann's series on the rising importance of landscape to architecture, seen in works by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Peter Zumthor, OMA, Zaha Hadid, and others.
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12.06.10: David Heymann

Nature-ization Takes Command
On Places, the second in a series of essays by David Heymann exploring the dynamic relationship of landscape and architecture, evident in works ranging from big civic projects by Norman Foster to small rural houses by Glenn Murcutt.
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11.29.10: David Heymann

A Cloud on a Lake
On Places, architect David Heymann explores the charged relationship between buildings and landscapes in works as diverse as Diller Scofidio + Renfro's notorious Blur Building and Hiroshi Sugimoto's minimalist seascapes.
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11.18.10: Barbara Penner

Flush with Inequality: Sanitation in South Africa
On Places, just in time for World Toilet Day 2010, Barbara Penner explores the complex political, social and environmental meanings of sanitation in post-apartheid South Africa.
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11.15.10: Thomas Fisher

Frederick Law Olmsted and the Campaign for Public Health
On Places, Tom Fisher explores a forgotten chapter in the illustrious career of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted: his brief but exemplary period as head of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.
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11.08.10: Millay Hyatt

On the Trail of the Berlin Wall
On Places, writer Millay Hyatt treks the 100-mile trail of the former Berlin Wall, and observes the complicated merging of east and west, past and present.
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11.04.10: Charles Waldheim

Notes Toward a History of Agrarian Urbanism
On Places, Charles Waldheim sketches a history of agriculture in cities, from Frank Lloyd Wright to ecological urbanism.
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11.01.10: Mason White

The Productive Surface
On Places, Mason White traces a line from the Cité Industrielle to Buckminster Fuller to contemporary designers exploring the potential for built surfaces to produce agriculture, renewable energy, water harvesting, and more.
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10.21.10: Javier Arbona

Dangers in the Air: Aerosol Architecture and Invisible Landscapes
On Places, Javier Arbona looks at innovative projects that conceptualize air — the atmosphere that surrounds us — as a dynamic and even political component of buildings and landscapes.
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10.18.10: Thomas Fisher

Viral Cities
On Places, Thomas Fisher explores "viral cities," looking at historic and contemporary pandemics, and arguing for stronger links between the practices of urban design and public health.
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09.30.10: Tim Culvahouse

Stoop, Balcony, Pilot House: Making It Right in the Lower Ninth Ward
On Places, architect Tim Culvahouse assesses the post-Katrina architecture in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans sponsored by Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation.
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09.20.10: Deborah Gans

Haiti and the Potential of Permaculture
On Places, architect Deborah Gans explores how the temporary resettlement camps in post-earthquake Haiti might be transformed into self-sufficient agrarian villages.
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09.13.10: Keith Eggener

Size Matters: Small Towns with Big Things
From the Burj Khalifa to the world's biggest ball of twine, size matters. On Places, architectural historian Keith Eggener takes an expansive look at largeness, especially "big things in small towns."
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09.07.10: Richard Campanella

New Fuel for an Old Narrative: Notes on the BP Oil Disaster
On Places, geographer Richard Campanella recalls a long hot summer, and sets the BP oil spill into the complex environmental and cultural contexts of America's third coast.
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09.03.10: James Sanders

Hallowed Ground, Worldly City: Ground Zero and the Struggle for Lower Manhattan
On Places, James Sanders looks at the current controversy over the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in a larger context, noting that New York City has for most of its history "abhorred the very idea of memorials." 
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07.08.10: Jerry Herron

Borderland/Borderama/Detroit: Part 3
On Places, the third and final installment of "Borderland/Borderama/Detroit," an exploration of the rise and fall — and persistence — of Detroit, and what it means in American culture, by writer and historian Jerry Herron.
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07.07.10: Jerry Herron

Borderland/Borderama/Detroit: Part 2
On Places, part 2 of "Borderland/Borderama/Detroit," an exploration of the rise and fall — and persistence — of Detroit, and what it means in American culture, by writer and historian Jerry Herron.
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07.06.10: Jerry Herron

Borderland/Borderama/Detroit: Part 1
On Places, the first installment of "Borderland/Borderama/Detroit," an exploration of the rise and fall — and persistence — of Detroit, and what it means in American culture, by writer and historian Jerry Herron.
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06.09.10: Mitchell Schwarzer

A Sense of Place, A World of Augmented Reality: Part 2
On Places, in the second installment of his two-part essay, architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer argues that augmented reality, combined with social networking, is bringing about "nothing less than a new epoch of social relations."
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06.08.10: Mitchell Schwarzer

A Sense of Place, A World of Augmented Reality: Part 1
On Places, in the first of two-part essay, architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer argues that digital technology, especially the real-time, mediating imageries of augmented reality, are revolutionizing how we perceive and inhabit place.
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05.04.10: James Sanders

Adventure Playground: John V. Lindsay and the Transformation of Modern New York
On Places, James Sanders on the transformation of New York City that began in the Sixties under Mayor John Lindsay — the reinvention of the city from a workaday zone to a scenic setting for urban play, an "adventure playground."
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04.26.10: Barbara Penner

The Wedding at Cana: A Vision by Peter Greenaway
On Places, architectural historian Barbara Penner explores Peter Greenaway's digital video installation of Veronese's The Wedding at Cana, the latest in the series "Nine Classic Paintings Revisited," shown at the recent Venice Biennale.
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04.19.10: Meena Kadri

People's Way: Urban Mobility in Ahmedabad
On Places, New Zealand-based design writer Meena Kadri rides the new bus-rapid-transit in Ahmedabad, a system that strives to mix old and new, rich and poor — and even offers yoga classes to the drivers.
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04.13.10: Tim Love

Paper Architecture, Emerging Urbanism
On Places, Tim Love explores the latest generation of paper architecture being created by under-employed designers — and argues that the current recession offers a real chance to align progressive theory with urban practice.
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04.05.10: Denise Hoffman Brandt

The View to America Street from Mrs. Fair’s Front Door, July 21, 2009
On Places, landscape architect Denise Hoffman Brandt offers a vivid portrait of the ongoing post-Katrina struggles of one neighborhood, and one household, in New Orleans.
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02.12.10: Thomas Fisher

How Haiti Could Change Design
How might the Haiti earthquake change design practice? On Places, Thomas Fisher argues that designers need to develop practices that not only respond to crises that have happened but also proactively intervene in disaster-prone areas, with the goal of limiting damage in the future.
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02.01.10: Keith Eggener

Lethal T-Square: Architecture, Violence, Renewal
Robert Moses is often compared with Baron Haussman. Keith Eggener argues that he can be compared as well with the vigilante-architect played by Charles Bronson in Death Wish.
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01.27.10: Hector Fernando Burga

A View of Haiti from Liberty City
Miami-based urban designer Hector Fernando Burga asks difficult questions about how urban designers can respond effectively to the disaster in Haiti.
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11.19.09: Dk Osseo-Asare, Quilian Riano

A City in Search of Good Fortune
Architects Quilian Riano and Dk Osseo-Asare report on the profitable but notorious port of Buenaventura, Colombia, as the city battles drug traffickers and paramilitary gangs, poverty and corruption; and they fear that the proposed solutions might be part of the problem.
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11.05.09: Jan Otakar Fischer

Berlin: The Art of Reunification
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, architect and writer Jan Otakar Fischer describes the failed competition to create a reunification memorial — and explores the thorny questions of German memory and identity.
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10.30.09: Donlyn Lyndon

Lawrence Halprin, 1916 – 2009
Lawrence Halprin, one of the leading landscape architects of the postwar era, remembered by his longtime friend and colleague Donlyn Lyndon.
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10.20.09: Thomas Fisher

Fracture Critical
Much U.S. infrastructure is "fracture critical" — vulnerable to catastrophic and systemic failure; Thomas Fisher argues that our finance, housing and energy systems are fracture-critical as well.
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10.10.09: Timothy Beatley

The 100-Mile Thanksgiving
Timothy Beatley describes a new tradition in the planning department at the University of Virginia: the 100-Mile Thanksgiving, for which students prepare the annual feast, trying to use food produced within 100 miles of the Charlottesville campus.
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09.11.09: Keith Eggener

Hometown, America
Architectural historian Keith Eggener visits the boyhood homes of Mark Twain and Walt Disney, and finds in each an all-American mix of historic fact, popular fantasy and commercial exploitation.
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09.09.09: Tim Love

Between Mission Statement and Parametric Model
Boston-based architect and educator Tim Love argues that architectural education is in crisis, a result of the increasing tension between digitally driven formal experimentation and new mandates for social responsibility.
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09.09.09: Jonathan Massey

Five Ways to Change the World
Architect and educator Jonathan Massey suggests five ways to influence the built environment — and make the world a better place.
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09.07.09: Tobias Armborst, Daniel D'Oca, Georgeen Theodore

Community: The American Way of Living
Think American suburbia is a sprawl of homogeneous privatopias? The U.S. curators of the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale argue that you haven't been paying attention.
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09.04.09: Andrew Blum

Metaphor Remediation: A New Ecology for the City
Cities are the new frontiers green living, and Andrew Blum argues that we need to revise the old metaphors: will Half Dome give way to the high-rise as the new emblem of environmentalism?
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08.05.09: Nina-Marie Lister

Water/Front
Ecological planner Nina-Marie Lister explores innovative ways to regenerate urban waterfronts.
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06.15.08: B. Wortham-Galvin

Mythologies of Placemaking
Designers and planners frequently herald the concept of “sense of place.” However, this ill-defined buzzword most often serves to rally support for redevelopment projects that ignore deep patterns of local culture.
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06.15.08: Stephen Luoni

Little Rock's Emerging Nonprofit Corridor
The non-profit sector is a major player in promoting green urbanism. Here's what's happening in Little Rock.
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09.19.07: Mark Lamster

The City and the Stream
Antwerp looks to revitalize its once bustling waterfront with a redevelopment plan that anticipates both growth and rising sea levels.
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08.15.07: Garth Rockcastle

The Lost Public Art of Gordon Matta-Clark
Gordon Matta-Clark infiltrated the worlds of art and architecture, revealing deep complacencies in each.
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05.28.07: Alexandra Lange

Fantasy Island
The fantasy of converting Governors Island to a pedestrian playground is closer to becoming a reality.
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12.15.06: Allan Jacobs

The State of City Planning Today
A veteran city planner and educator analyzes the anemia of U.S. planning, and detects signs of life in neighborhood activism.
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12.15.06: Amy Murphy

Seattle Central Library: Civic Architecture in the Age of Media
In the Seattle Public Library, Rem Koolhaas and OMA work to transform architecture into media interface.
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04.15.05: Susan Rogers

Superneighborhood 27: A Brief History of Change
From hot tubs to bodegas: a Houston subdivision built for the '60s singles lifestyle has found new energy as a multi-ethnic neighborhood.
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11.01.01: Ruth Durack

Village Vices: The Contradiction of New Urbanism and Sustainability
A critique of New Urbanism focusing not on its traditionalism but on the unsustainability of its planning models.
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04.01.89: Catherine Brown, William Morrish

Western Civic Art: Works in Progress
In 1989 Phoenix, Arizona, commissioned one of the first public art master plans. The city now has one of the strongest public art programs in the country.
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07.15.83: Kevin Lynch

In No Order Whatsoever
Just before his death in 1984, the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch compiled a list of topics he thought important for the future of cities. The list is as relevant as ever.
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