The Design Observer Group


Posted 09.27.09


Nancy Levinson

From the Editor


Places was founded in 1983 by architecture faculty at Berkeley and MIT, and for the next 26 years it was a print journal, edited for much of that time by Donlyn Lyndon. This past spring we published our final hard-copy edition.

This fall — starting today — we begin a new chapter, as Places moves from a printed format, distributed seasonally and sold via subscription, to an open-access website that will be available continuously, with new features appearing weekly.

On the web, as in print, our focus will be on contemporary architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism, with special emphasis on the public realm as both physical place and social idea. Our approach will be interdisciplinary and inclusive. Online, Places will maintain its commitment to peer-reviewed scholarship; the new site already incorporates the journal’s archive of 69 issues and more than 1,250 articles (which we are in the process of classifying and cross-referencing by author and multiple subjects). To take full advantage of the depth and immediacy of the web, we will also publish topical essays, timely reviews and multimedia formats, and we will promote and link to events, including symposia and exhibitions, and to new and recommended books. Places will support interactive discussion, and we welcome the prospect of lively debate.

We are very pleased to be making the transition from print to pixel as part of the Design Observer Group, working with editors William Drenttel, Julie Lasky, Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut. Like our colleagues in the Observer Group, we are committed to design as a catalyst for social and environmental change, and we anticipate an exciting and productive partnership.

Places is funded largely by a consortium of U.S. universities, and it has been sustained over the past quarter century by a core of devoted readers, to whom we are grateful. The move to the web is a marvelous opportunity to greatly expand that core readership — and to enlarge the constituency for serious environmental design thinking and practice, at a moment when that thinking and practice has never been more needed.

Inevitably Places will evolve as we move fully into the diverse, interactive and always dynamic environment of the web. We hope you will want to visit the site regularly, as we start this new chapter, and new adventure.