• Carr Square Village (from Oscar Newman, Creating Defensible Space)

    Has Pruitt-Igoe Been Demythologized?

    The short answer is Yes and No. Details ahead… Last week I finally had a chance to see the much-heralded film The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: An Urban History at the Denver Starz Film Festival.  I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a powerful and visually […]

  • Civic Virtue, Civic Vice, and Civic Center Park

    Civic Virtue, Civic Vice, and Civic Center Park

    Denver’s Lincoln Park—ground zero for the Occupy Denver protests—is part of a larger public space called Civic Center Park.  Civic Center Park is a classic City Beautiful composition. The Occupy Denver protests coincided with a required visit by my Culture […]

  • Mr. Kimmelman’s Mission

    Mr. Kimmelman’s Mission

    New York Times commentators have always figured prominently in my urban studies reading lists, whether its Paul Krugman advocating Old World urbanism, David Brooks explaining American exurbanism, or the extant architecture critic opining about the latest addition to the global […]

  • Calatrava Plan DOA at DIA

    Calatrava Plan DOA at DIA

    Well, not exactly dead on arrival, but close.   Almost from the start the great Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s designs for Denver International Airport’s South Terminal Project were assailed by critics  for disrespecting the original (and now iconic) Curtis Fentress design […]

  • The Monumental MLK

    The Monumental MLK

    Public monuments are an important aspect of the good city. In his Art of Building Cities (1889)—a book that helped to establish the modern study of urban design—Camillo Sitte suggested that monuments “bring back historical memories” and constitute “the glory […]

  • Why is London Burning?

    Why is London Burning?

    Criminologists offer up an array of usual suspects, including social exclusion, poverty, racism, and cultures of violence combined with weak policing.  In an inspired move, The Architects Journal asked a group of architectural thinkers and urbanists whether architecture could have anything […]

  • Icons, Pop-Ups, and Corporate Branding of Urban Space

    Icons, Pop-Ups, and Corporate Branding of Urban Space

    This week the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation—widely known for creating iconic buildings to house its museums, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s classic spiraled ribbon on Fifth Avenue in New York City and Frank Gehry’s twisted curves in Bilbao, Spain—joined the “Pop-Up […]

  • Brand X Urbanism and Cultural Diversity

    Brand X Urbanism and Cultural Diversity

    I’d like to revisit an issue raised in my recent summary of James Kunstler’s view of the urban future.  This issue is the relative merits of competing urbanisms for addressing the contemporary challenges that confront city designers and planners.  Kunstler […]

  • The Greatest Work of Architecture Built in this Century?

    The Greatest Work of Architecture Built in this Century?

    Upon hearing, in 1860, the suggestion that humankind was descended from apes the wife of the Bishop of Worcester is reported to have exclaimed: “Let us hope it is not true, but if it is, let us pray it will not […]