A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America

Vishaan Chakrabarti with Thom Mayne

Monday 17 June, 2013
7pm, $25

Scholastic Auditorium
557 Broadway

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Vishaan Chakrabarti will discuss ideas from his new book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, published by Metropolis Books. With illustrations by SHoP Architects, where Chakrabarti is Partner, and a foreword by Sir Norman Foster, A Country of Cities argues that, “by removing the legal, economic, and moral imbalances that incentivize sprawl, we can realize a more prosperous, more sustainable and more equitable nation.”

Today, the United States is divided, a country of countries characterized by bitter partisanship, economic decline, environmental degradation and growing social inequity. The same tired debates define our political rhetoric, but little is said about how architecture, urbanism and development — i.e., about the way in which we use land — have fueled this national malaise. Despite all the changes politicians promise to enact, altering our sprawling, gluttonous lifestyle is not among them. Our Federal policies continue to perilously fuel a country of highways, houses and hedges, and we are stuck in traffic while emerging economies are speeding past us. ‘A Country of Cities’ contemplates a different nation, one of trains, towers and trees…Author Vishaan Chakrabarti passionately and straightforwardly advocates for this alternate universe and for the essential precept that cities are the silver bullet for the nation’s — and the planet’s — ills.
-Metropolis Books

Vishaan Chakrabarti is a Partner at SHoP Architects and is the Marc Holliday Associate Professor of Real Estate Development and the Director of CURE, the Center for Urban Real Estate, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

Thom Mayne is the founder of Morphosis. His most recent book, Combinatory Urbanism: The Complex Behavior of Collective Form, serves as both a manifesto on urban design and a look at the office’s urban-scale projects.

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