I would like to argue that a more potent threat to the ongoing political viability of historic preservation is the perception that the preservation industry has become a conservative, indeed revanchist force; that it is elitist and sometimes even racist in its abetment of gentrification.
How did this happen?
Historic preservation in New York, according to the favored creation myth, was born in the postwar era as a progressive grassroots movement... — Places Journal
Cities that are growing and cities that are shrinking, climate change, environmental health and equity, resource scarcity, technological change — all demand that we rethink how we plan, design, construct, and maintain the built environment. These challenges also demand that serious design journalism and scholarship move from the margins to the center of the larger cultural discussion. — Places Journal
Last week The New Yorker opened up part of its archive, setting off a mad dash through the corridors in search of great summer reading.The editors at Places Journal have rounded up some of the best articles on architecture and urbanism, including profiles of David Adjaye and Bjarke Ingels...
To sever instances of “architecture” from the deaths of indentured construction workers on a building site in Qatar, or from the property lines measured out at Twin Lakes, is an elemental act, comparable to flushing a toilet, turning on the water, or switching on a light... Understanding these infrastructures, and contesting their hegemony with that knowledge, is therefore as basic as it gets. — Places Journal
For the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, curator Rem Koolhaas has chosen as his theme "fundamentals," meaning the "inevitable elements of all architecture ... the door, the floor, the ceiling, etc." To this list Reinhold Martin proposes Fundamental #13: real estate, the land itself, without...
Most discourse on “smart” and “sentient” cities, if it addresses people at all, focuses on them as sources of data feeding the algorithms. Rarely do we consider the point of engagement — how people interface with, and experience, the city’s operating system. — Places Journal
As we enter the era of so-called “smart” cities, Shannon Mattern argues on Places, we need to consider how citizens interface with the city’s operating system. What does a “right to the city” mean for our future cities? “Can we envision interfaces that honor the multidimensionality and...
Landscape architects — and anyone else who works directly with vegetation — need to acknowledge that a wide variety of so-called novel or emergent ecosystems are developing before our eyes. — Places Journal
Places is featuring two chapters from the new book Projective Ecologies, edited by Chris Reed and Nina-Marie Lister and co-published by Actar and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.In "The Flora of the Future," botanist Peter Del Tredici argues that the native plants movement has got it all...
In the projects shown here, architects and artists reflect on the problems and possibilities of economic and urban growth. How is rapid urbanization happening? 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? — Places Journal
Our task — and we should well speak as architects — must be making the invisible visible, uncovering and retracing the concealed limits of the city. We must construct barriers and counter-spaces within and against the processes that tame and dissolve the crucial loci of democracy. — Places Journal
Within a few years, rapidly growing Istanbul will overtake London and Moscow as Europe’s largest metropolis. Not coincidentally, Turkey is undergoing a profound shift toward privatization, as seen in the government's plan to redevelop Taksim Gezi Park into a shopping mall with a nostalgic...
"All great public squares have a monument with a statue, right? ... Everyone in town can agree about that. But whenever we discuss which historical figure should go up on that column, it turns into a fight. We can’t come to a consensus. So we’ve decided to leave it empty. One day, this person will come. And when they do, we will have a place waiting for their statue. This will bring great pride to Anse-à-Pitres.” — Places Journal
On Places, artist and filmmaker Joseph Redwood-Martinez shares photographs and anecdotes from a research project investigating examples of incomplete architecture around the world: "buildings and structures that are activated or inhabited even though their construction is not complete."
The particular danger of TEDification to the design disciplines, I think, is its core message that the chief obstacle to our discovering grand solutions to global problems — to achieving the grand design, to "making a comprehensive entity," as that reviewer of Big History applauded — is our lack of sufficient connection. What we need, we're told, is a seamless web of ideas, capital, products and data. — Places Journal
"We are living through the era of the TED Talk, much like an earlier generation lived through the era of the World's Fair, wondrous about our new world in the making," writes Simon Sadler on Places. "TEDification endows capitalism and globalization with a credible spiritual and ethical mission...
I wish that it still existed.
— Frank Gehry
It would be the world's biggest nightmare if the Institute were still alive.
— Mark Wigley
It was the moment for something to happen.
— Diana Agrest
// — Places Journal
In 1967 Peter Eisenman founded the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, and until it closed in 1985 the Institute — a heady mix of think tank, exhibit space, journal publisher and cocktail party — was one of the centers of American architecture culture. Belmont Freeman...
Lina Bo Bardi was loyal more to an emancipating concept of modernity than to the abstract, formal language of modern architecture. Her thinking and practice were situated at the intersection of different worldviews: north and south, city and hinterland, privilege and deprivation, modernism and tradition, past and present, abstraction and social realism. As she declared in 1989, “I didn’t make myself alone. I am curious and this quality broadens my horizons. ... I am somehow special.” — Places Journal
Lina Bo Bardi's career spanned two continents and six decades, but we are only just beginning to appreciate what Zeuler Lima describes as the "vast and original body of work that emerged from her prolific but discontinuous trajectory as architect, designer, illustrator, writer, editor and...
The default recourse to data-fication, the presumption that all meaningful flows and activity can be sensed and measured, is taking us toward a future in which the people shaping our cities and their policies rarely have the opportunity to consider the nature of our stickiest urban problems and the kind of questions they raise. — Places Journal
What do corporate smart-city programs have in common with D.I.Y. science projects and civic hackathons? “Theirs is a city with an underlying logic,” writes Shannon Mattern, “made more efficient — or just, or sustainable, or livable — with a tweak to its algorithms or...
We’ve seen the movies, read the books, toured the spooky attractions. This we know: haunted houses are dangerous places. They’re built on evil ground, or on sites where bad things happened, or above the graves of people who don’t want company. ... But that’s not what I want to talk about here. Sometimes buildings are born bad. — Places Journal
Just in time for Halloween, Eggener takes us on a tour of evil architecture in books and movies. “'Organic architecture must come from the ground up into the light by gradual growth,'" he writes. "So said Frank Lloyd Wright, though none of his buildings ever murdered a client."
I step out into the street but realize that I’d better not — there’s a current — and as my hallway fills, I remember the electrical panel in the basement. It shorts out, and I hear the breakers fall. Then there is an explosion outside, and the neighborhood goes dark. — Places Journal
In October 2012, as Hurricane Sandy approached New York, Alexandros Washburn defied evacuation orders and stayed fast in his home in Red Hook, watching as his street flooded and became a "full-fledged river." But he had good reason; the city's chief urban designer wanted to observe first-hand...
My bewilderment quickly yields to a growing sense of dread. How is it that even in the heart of Silicon Valley it’s completely acceptable for smart technology to be buggy, erratic, or totally dysfunctional? ... We are weaving these technologies into our homes, our communities, even our very bodies — but even experts have become disturbingly complacent about their shortcomings. The rest of us rarely question them at all. — Places Journal
Electric car sharing in Paris, dynamic road pricing in Singapore, nationwide smart meters in the UK. “The technology industry is asking us to rebuild the world around its vision of efficient, safe, convenient living,” writes Anthony M. Townsend in an excerpt on Places from his...
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