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Ideas


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.
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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.
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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.
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01.21.14: Simon Sadler

TEDification versus Edification
On Places, Simon Sadler explores the magical thinking and many contradictions of the TED Talks.
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01.13.14: Belmont Freeman

"The moment for something to happen"
On Places, Belmont Freeman reviews The Making of an Avant-Garde, Diana Agrest's new documentary on the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, from its 1970s heyday to its brilliant legacy.
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01.06.14: David Heymann

A Life in Ruins
On Places, a story about the incongruency of clients’ desires and the hope many architects secretly harbor, that architecture is a conduit to the real. (Features audio recording by the author.)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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05.06.13: David Heymann

Please Save Modernism from the Modern
On Places, David Heymann makes the case for why the Folk Art Museum is a great modernist building — and why the Museum of Modern Art should reverse its decision to tear it down.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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01.21.13: Nancy Levinson

After the Storm: Climate Change and Public Works
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the accelerating crisis of climate change suggests a newly intensified political agenda for design activism.
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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,"
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01.02.13: David Heymann

My Beautiful City
On Places, a story by David Heymann, on Austin then and now, and a heartbreak of a house commission; with an audio recording by the author.
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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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03.06.12: Giovanna Borasi & Mirko Zardini

Demedicalize Architecture
On Places, Canadian Centre for Architecture curators Mirko Zardini and Giovanna Borasi explore the changing social and political concepts of “healthy” buildings and cities.
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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.
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02.09.12: Marc Angélil, Jørg Himmelreich, Hubertus Adam & J. Christoph Bürkle

An Interview with Jacques Herzog
On Places, an interview with Jacques Herzog, who discusses the recent work of Herzog & de Meuron and the challenges of maintaining a creatively vital practice.
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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.
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01.26.12: Michael Lundgren, Aaron Rothman & Josh Wallaert

If There Be Such Space
On Places, a slideshow drawn from a collaborative exhibition by two photographers who share an interest in the perception and representation of natural landscapes.
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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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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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12.08.11: Reinhold Martin

Occupy: The Day After
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores how Occupy Wall Street might challenge the structural inequities of finance capitalism, and how architects and urbanists can contribute to the next phase of the movement
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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.
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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..
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11.07.11: Reinhold Martin

Occupy: What Architecture Can Do
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the role of architecture in the Occupy Wall Street movement — and in the larger challenges of constructing a better and more equitable society.
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10.24.11: David Adjaye, Nikolaus Hirsch, Jorge Otero-Pailos

On Architecture and Authorship: A Conversation
On Places, David Adjaye, Nikolaus Hirsch and Jorge Otero-Pailos discuss the complex relationship of architecture to authorship: Is the architect an author or service provider?
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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.
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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.
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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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07.07.11: 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."
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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.
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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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04.07.11: Ray Gastil

In Motion: The Experience of Travel
On Places, Ray Gastil reviews In Motion: The Experience of Travel, the latest book by Tony Hiss.
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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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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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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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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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07.27.10: William L. Fox

Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture
Can buildings makes us happy? On Places, William L. Fox explores this possibility in his review of Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture, by Leon van Schaik.
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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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05.07.10: Alexandra Lange

Saccharine Design
As curator and subject in his own exhibition, “Marcel Wanders: Daydreams at the Philadelphia,” the designer manages to diminish his appeal.
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03.06.10: Nancy Levinson

Critical Beats
On Places, Nancy Levinson argues that the fundamental dilemma of architecture criticism is the rise of the global beat — dateline: placeless.
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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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01.18.10: Nancy Levinson

The Public Works
Why isn't the Great Recession inspiring a new New Deal? The essential dilemma, argues Places editor Nancy Levinson, is that we no longer believe in public sector solutions — or even in the public itself.
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01.14.10: Beth Weinstein

The City's End
Architect Beth Weinstein reviews The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears and Premonitions of New York's Destruction, by architectural historian Max Page — just in time for the season premiere of 24, which finds Jack Bauer and his fellow counter-terrorists relocated to NYC.
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11.11.09: Gavin Browning

it is what it is
Gavin Browning reviews it is what is is, the 1,000-page monograph of the work of the New York-based multidisciplinary design firm 2x4.
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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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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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