A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America | June 17

A Country of Cities

Image: Metropolis Books

From 2009-2011, Vishaan Chakrabarti authored a series of opinion pieces for Urban Omnibus casting current events as rallying cries for urban density. Since then, he has expanded upon these writings for a new publication, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, to be released on May 30th by Metropolis Books. The book elaborates on and further develops the themes that Chakrabarti first shared with us, that cities are the key to solving the environmental, cultural, economic, and social problems that confront the future of 21st-century America. By turning “a country of highways, houses and hedges into a country of trains, towers and trees,” he argues that intelligent planning and design can turn our cities into drivers of progressivism and stewardship.

On Monday, June 17th, at 7:00pm, Chakrabarti will discuss A Country of Cities at the Scholastic Auditorium, with ticket proceeds benefitting Urban Omnibus. Read on for more information from the program listing, or visit the League’s website for the latest about the event or to purchase tickets.

The lecture will take place the week after the 2013 Urban Omnibus Block Party, our annual benefit party and auction, which will take place on June 13th. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets to that event.

A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America
Vishaan Chakrabarti
Introduced by Thom Mayne
1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs

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, Director of CURE, the Center for Urban Real Estate, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and serves on the League’s Board of Directors.

Thom Mayne is the founder of Morphosis and serves on the League’s Board of Directors. 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.

Time & Place
Monday, June 17, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Scholastic Auditorium
557 Broadway

Tickets are $10 for League members; $25 for non-members. Staff of firms with League memberships may purchase tickets at the member’s rate. To purchase tickets, click here. Proceeds from ticket sales will help support Urban Omnibus.

The 2013 Urban Omnibus Blockparty and auction, an additional benefit for Urban Omnibus, will take place on June 13. Look back here for more information shortly.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.