Archinect
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Someone please educate me on wtf an "urbanist" is.

starrchitect

So this is a term that I have seen tossed around academia for the past number of years, and usually by professors not competent enough to take or pass the AREs.  

Is "urbanist" another cute title professors need to tag on their CVs along with "artist" and "architect" (despite being unlicensed)? Anyhow, how does one go about becoming one and the requirements for it?

 
Aug 3, 18 1:48 pm
flatroof

I think the title comes with the trust fund.

Aug 3, 18 2:02 pm  · 
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spiketwig

It's what you call someone who likes to talk about cities (preferably densifying them, generally in opposition to 'NIMBY's) but who has no actual credentials other than some combination of blogging and occasionally showing up at a city hall meetings and/or protests. Frequently is "independently wealthy". 

Aug 3, 18 2:20 pm  · 
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geezertect

A dilettante.

Aug 4, 18 2:00 pm  · 
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starrchitect

Funny enough, the shortlist of professors I have in mind all have blogs where they bitch and moan about every metropolitan city they encounter. Not exactly Earth shattering ideas here, nor the second coming of Jane Jacobs in their writings.

Aug 4, 18 2:10 pm  · 
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JLC-1

an overrated landscaper

Aug 3, 18 2:54 pm  · 
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urbanist noun 1. a self-titled hipster academic 2. an architectural professor lacking professional experience and practical knowledge 3. adj. overly versed in jargon and theory





Aug 3, 18 3:20 pm  · 
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tintt

Euphemism for people who hate any place where they can't get a slurpee within 1 minute.

Aug 3, 18 3:41 pm  · 
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x-jla

Lol!

Aug 4, 18 1:16 am  · 
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geezertect

Seems like urbanists would consider a slurpee to be strictly declasse. Some gross kind of third world food would be more like it.

Aug 4, 18 2:07 pm  · 
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tintt

Oh yeah like Doro wot.

Aug 5, 18 2:56 am  · 
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Volunteer

Dunno, but they have a website 'theurbanist.org' where you can send money and everything. Based in Seattle. Something to do with lattes and being trendier than thou.

Aug 3, 18 3:55 pm  · 
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starrchitect

I assume it is run and organized by profs who have nothing better to do outside of studio classes .

Aug 4, 18 2:00 pm  · 
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spiketwig

Seattle had an independently wealthy 'urbanist' run for mayor last year. I think we may be exporting them now..

Aug 6, 18 12:40 pm  · 
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randomised

Bunch of amateurs here, it's obviously called archinect here and not urbanect...let me help you out here. An urbanist or Urbanist, well you know why, is a supporter of pope Urban VI. How quickly people forget, "pope" Clement VII ring any bells? Jeez...very disappointed.

Aug 4, 18 3:51 am  · 
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Volunteer

The current Pope is Urban the Meyer I. Like fondling little kids with the earlier Popes, excusing wife-beating is quite OK.

Aug 4, 18 8:30 am  · 
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starrchitect

Go Buckeyes!

Aug 4, 18 1:59 pm  · 
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When I see "urbanist" I think of someone who holds a set of views that include being a proponent of density, transit, diversity, public space, and design that goes beyond object to include variable context.

Aug 4, 18 11:18 am  · 
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starrchitect

Well put, Donna! On the flip side, this is a skill set that I believe every architect worth their salt already has. In my fourth year (of five) of school, the entire year was devoted to the urban context, and likewise, my ARE exams were filled to the brim with urban concept questions (historical, New Urbanism, zoning, etc.). I don't understand where academics suddenly have a stranglehold on the term and flaunt it like a weapon.

Aug 4, 18 1:59 pm  · 
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randomised

Nobody forbids you to also call yourself an urbanist...and if enough join you the term will devalue even further and people will have to call themselves "theorist" or something...

Aug 4, 18 4:44 pm  · 
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Urbanist is what the folks advocating for livable cities, some may go further and ask for greater density and less dependence on cars. Urbanist are unified in their dislike of the suburban sprawl mode of development.

Aug 6, 18 11:00 am  · 
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spiketwig

All true but the reason they have to call themselves 'urbanists' is they have no actual credentials beyond those beliefs. What's irritating about the name is that it makes them sound like they have some actual training or expertise when they really don't... all their expertise is based on arguing with others in public.

Aug 6, 18 12:41 pm  · 
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placemaker

I’ve never seen anyone use “urbanist” in place of credentials, but more as a descriptor of their interests. Like Donna and Peter said, they’re united by a set of views and opinions, not by a particular skill set or education. @starrchicect, many people who had the same education as you may have come out of it with a thorough understanding of urban concepts, but not necessarily identify with a strong interest in those issues.

Aug 6, 18 3:40 pm  · 
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spiketwig

I have most definitely seen 'urbanist' used as some kind of implied credential..

Aug 6, 18 4:51 pm  · 
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This is how I've seen the term used as well - indicative of someone that wants more density, less parking, better ped design, etc. I haven't seen any academics use the term before.

Aug 6, 18 8:20 pm  · 
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randomised

"Winy Maas is a Dutch architect, landscape architect, professor and urbanist."

Aug 7, 18 3:14 am  · 
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Volunteer

Harvard has just announced a new five-year academic program leading to a BS in Urban Studies. For those poor souls who got their undergraduate degree in 'Guatemalan Lesbian Studies', or something similar, Harvard will offer a three-year 'Master's in Urban Studies'. The doctorate program is still in the works. Figure six to eight years for the PhD. All will be financed, as usual, by the US taxpayers. The NCARB has kindly agreed to police the profession to ensure an Urbanist from North Dakota is not allowed to practice Urbanism in South Dakota without the proper credentials.

Aug 5, 18 6:33 am  · 
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tintt

I'm an urbanista. 

Aug 6, 18 4:59 pm  · 
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I'm a suburbanist.

Aug 6, 18 5:03 pm  · 
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JLC-1

what is a ruralist?

Aug 6, 18 5:28 pm  · 
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heeroyui

Gotta love the way the 'me generation' describe millennials.

Aug 7, 18 11:45 am  · 
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citizen

I'll put in a plea to be a little more narrow with the rhetorical brush.  

I teach a lot of folks from 18-30, and am impressed with the great work ethic and high level of personal responsibility many of them display-- not seeking to blame others for anything.  

Not all Millennials are Snowflakes, thank goodness.  And even the Snowflakes deserve some slack: they were taught hypersensitivity and narcissism by their elders.

Aug 7, 18 2:16 pm  · 
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randomised

Very true, they are of a generation that actively wants to change the world for a better one (with all the naiveté that comes with that) instead of passively looking at the government or corporations to do it for them or putting the pedal to the metal on the highway to hell. They've inherited a deeply polarised world on the brink of global catastrophe on every level imaginable, at least they try to do something about it.

Aug 7, 18 2:39 pm  · 
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won and done williams

And that isn't true of every generation before them? The difference is how you go about doing it.

Aug 8, 18 1:59 pm  · 
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randomised

Nope, it's the slash 'n burn tactics employed by the previous generations that they need to come to terms with and tackle if they want to be able to have any chance at all.

Aug 10, 18 11:07 am  · 
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won and done williams

I disagree. On a macro level, I think every generation starts out idealistic: the boomers started out as the hippies; Gen X were the rebels; the greatest generation was fighting true evil (instead of the largely made-up evils we have today). It's over time that youthful idealism turns into something else whether by greed, pragmatism, life circumstances, etc. I think the idealism of youth is consistent. The means by which youth try to affect change are ever changing and what ultimately defines a generation.

Aug 10, 18 11:13 am  · 
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randomised

Yep, but before each generation had it better than the previous, or so it seemed. That's no longer the case, the slash 'n burn tactics that have been applied/the pyramid scheme has run its course and we are seeing the consequences of that kind of policy on a political level or that attitude on a personal level all around. On a personal note, my father could buy a large enough family home on a single middle class income, I would be lucky buying a broom closet on a dual income. All the advantages the previous generations had they mortgaged on future generations, the earth was considered an infinite resource to be exploited for personal gain, when they already knew years ago this couldn't last.

Aug 11, 18 3:55 am  · 
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randomised

Eugène Huzar, 1857, yes 1857: In one or two hundred years, criss-crossed by railways and steamships, covered with factories and workshops, the world will
emit billions of cubic metres of carbonic acid and carbon oxide, and, since the forests will have been destroyed, these hundreds of 
 billions of carbonic acid and carbon oxide may indeed disturb the harmony of the world.

Aug 11, 18 4:03 am  · 
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Dangermouse

i cant believe this hasn't been posted:

http://www.ruderal.com/bullshi...

Aug 8, 18 12:27 am  · 
1  · 
citizen

^ Score! 

 A selection: 

  • leverage elastic peripheries  
  • curate abandoned interfaces
  • facilitate mutable equilibria

Of course, the architecture academy started this horrible trend a long time ago.  But it continues to infest.

Aug 8, 18 12:26 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur
  • grow aleatoric ecologies
  • urbanize dendritic architectures
Aug 8, 18 12:49 pm  · 
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I’ve been busy rectifying intermodal paradigms. Going to need a double dose of Reposado
tonight.

Aug 8, 18 1:28 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

Miles, does your love for aged tequila diversify invasive circuits? Certainly one can scale boolean grids without needing a drink or engineer transparent basins.  Asking for a friend.

Aug 8, 18 1:30 pm  · 
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This is fantastic, thank you Dangermouse. My favorite I've gotten: anticipate post-industrial convergence.

Aug 10, 18 6:16 pm  · 
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citizen

Overall I concur with Donna's succinct definition above.  But the "title" of urbanist used almost as a certification is a bit pompous.

Aug 8, 18 12:30 pm  · 
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AdrianFGA

Is "urbanist" another cute title professors need to tag on their CVs along with "artist" and "architect" (despite being unlicensed)? 

In my experience, when they say "urbanist" or "urbanism", they think ideal "urban design" as opposed to your average real life urban sprawl, backed by regulation-driven urban / town planning. 

In France, the meaning of "urbanisme" still has more to do with theoretical urban design, than, say, British town planning; probably that's why anglo academia likes to use words derived from it.  It sort of mirrors the ideal, ivory-tower, academic architectural design ("urbanist") vs real-life architecture (planner).

Also, it's typical of anglosphere elitist snobs, including those in academia, to overuse French-sounding (or Latin) words.


Aug 10, 18 9:51 am  · 
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Chemex

When I see "urbanist" I think of someone who holds a set of views that include being a proponent of density, transit, diversity, public space, and design that goes beyond object to include variable context.

What if you agree with all of these points, but don't agree with how the urbanism movement (McUrbanism) promotes a kind of top-down generic kind of urbanism that focuses on politicians (Bloomberg, world's greatest architect?) instead of the qualities of these spaces? You don't see these urbanism lobbyists proclaiming any of their theories would work in non-megacities without deep culture roots and architectural diversity and heritage. Usually their algorithms produce a kind of banal, city killing Bloombergian vision of luxury high-rises devoid of the kind of craft-first design that built cities in the first place. Not surprising this kind of urbanism is promoted by many the kind of technocrats that benefit from a top-down faux-urbanism. 

What comes first, architecture or urbanism? Most architects believe in both, but urbanists only believe in politics. 

Aug 10, 18 11:25 am  · 
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Chemex

"goes beyond object" is kind of the buzzphrase here I see in many urbanism conversations -- a kind of cynical "let them eat public space" narrative that gives up a holistic urbanism in favor of tactical (trickle down) urbanism. Let's just trust the taste and wisdom of developers and technocrats and focus on this post-industrial park? 

Aug 10, 18 11:27 am  · 
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The  definition has been a problem for decades...

see Louis Wirth, "Urbanism as a Way of Life."

Aug 10, 18 1:48 pm  · 
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citizen

Good cite. And Lou was only focused on what constituted the urban. He didn't even get to urbanist as a concept to define. Big subject.

Aug 10, 18 8:46 pm  · 
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wynne1architect@gmail.com

A liberal .

Aug 11, 18 4:35 pm  · 
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Dangermouse

wew lad

Aug 12, 18 8:22 pm  · 
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