Cities Destroyed for Cash (Then) Blame The Architect

A couple of links to great talks I hosted last week at the AA:

Damon Rich
Cities Destroyed for Cash

The Great Recession has produced a new theory of architecture; per US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, ‘The built environment helped create the economic crisis.’ Recognizing the built environment as protagonist to, or at least accomplice of, financial catastrophe underlines the urgency of designing for the possibilities and pitfalls of American democratic capitalism. By way of a post-apocalyptic settlement in Montréal, a public learning centre about finance and architecture in New York City, and a plan for the riverfront of Newark, New Jersey, this lecture will explore how tools of design might help reform relationships between people and their living environment

Wouter Vanstiphout
Blame the Architect: On the relationship between urban planning, architecture, culture and urban violence

Running time: 90 mins
After the riots in the French banlieues of 2005, fingers were pointed at the architects and planners responsible for the high-rise suburbs as the culprits behind the alienation, the poverty and ultimately the violence erupting around French cities. Just as 20 years earlier in Broadwater Farm, even Le Corbusier himself was blamed for the street fights that took place. Does architectural form have the power to change people’s behaviour in such violent ways as some critics would have you believe? Are these riots insurrections against oppression, or are they part of a culture of violence, that uses modern urban spaces as its theatrical backdrop? Who is to blame? The system, the rioter, the architect?



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