Politics / Policy
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.
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.
On Places, urban forecaster Anthony Townsend considers the vulnerability of smart cities to power failures, hackers and software bugs.
09.26.13: Liz Ševčenko
Forgetting Guantánamo, Again
On Places, a gallery of photos from the Guantánamo Public Memory Project examining the naval base’s long role in American policy and politics.
Beyond the Pritzker: Women, Architecture, and the Politics of Family Leave
On Places, Nancy Levinson surveys the recent conversation on women in architecture, and argues that it's time to translate the widespread awareness of persistent inequality into an ongoing campaign with concrete goals.
07.11.13: Catherine Gudis & Molly McGarry
Geographies of Detention
On Places, an exhibition of art and documentary work, by Sandow Birk, Alyse Emdur, Richard Ross and the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, that investigates prison landscapes.
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.
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.
05.28.13: David Burney & Nancy Levinson
An Interview with David Burney: On New York and the 21st-Century City-State
On Places, an interview with New York City Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney, who reflects on the urban design record of the Bloomberg years, the post-Sandy recovery effort, and the rise of the 21st-century city-state.
Motor City Breakdown
On Places, Jerry Herron looks at the troubled portrait of Detroit — and its spectacular decline — in recent books and films.
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.
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.
Public and Common(s)
On Places, Reinhold Martin explores the philosophical understandings of the terms public
, from the 20th-century treatises of Arendt and Habermas to recent books by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
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.
11.08.12: Josh Wallaert
State of the Commons
On Places, Josh Wallaert reviews the Wiki Loves Monuments USA photography contest — and highlights the increasing privatization of our infrastructure of public information.
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.
On Places, a poem by Josh Wallaert, from the chapbook A Guide to the Northwest Territory.
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.
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.
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."
09.17.12: Jonathan Massey & Brett Snyder
Occupying Wall Street: Places and Spaces of Political Action
On Places, Jonathan Massey and Brett Snyder explore the physical places and virtual spaces of Occupy Wall Street — the "hypercity built of granite and asphalt, algorithms and information."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
06.25.12: Reinhold Martin, Raphael Sperry, Amit C. Price Patel, Liz Ogbu & Tom Angotti
The Housing Question
On Places, a debate inspired by the MoMA exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream
, organized by the Buell Center and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility.
Rolling to a Stop
On Places, Ian Baldwin reviews ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking
and Reinventing the Automobile.
06.14.12: Henk Wildschut & Aaron Rothman
On Places, a portfolio by photographer Henk Wildschut documents a crisis hidden in plain sight — the network of transient camps set up all across Europe by undocumented workers from Africa and Asia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
11.14.11: Robert E. Lang & Arthur C. Nelson
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.
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.
Beyond Foreclosure: The Future of Suburban Housing
On Places, Aron Chang argues that the foreclosure crisis highlights the need to transform suburban housing — to make it responsive not to dated demographics and wishful economics but to the actual needs of a diversifying and dynamic population.
On Places, architect Kian Goh explores LGBT public spaces in contemporary New York, where activism confronts gentrification.
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.
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.
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.
The Roma of Rome: Heirs to the Ghetto System
On Places, historic preservationist Jon Calame documents, in words and images, the state-sponsored enclaves — or ghettos — that house the Roma, or Gypsies, of Rome.
New Deal Utopias
On Places, photographer Jason Reblando documents the Greenbelt Towns created by the New Deal of the 1930s — an earlier era's response to tough times.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Working for the People
Completing his doctorate in geography, Timothy Mennel produced not a typical dissertation but Everything Must Go: A Novel of Robert Moses's New York
. On Places, read an excerpt, in which Moses and Frank Lloyd Wright take a drive through Harlem and the Bronx.
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.
11.03.09: Frieder Schnock & Renata Stih
Open Space: Berlin After Reunification
Berlin-based artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock curate an online gallery to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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.
Learning from New Orleans, or why we really need a new New Deal.