Vishaan Chakrabarti’s new book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, 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.” Metropolis Books, the publisher, writes of Chakrabarti’s thesis:
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.
A Country of Cities was first developed as a series of opinion pieces published on the League’s Urban Omnibus in which Chakrabarti cast key current events as rallying cries in his evolving argument for urban density—those essays are collected here. On June 17th, during a special Architectural League event held at Scholastic Auditorium, with ticket proceeds benefitting Urban Omnibus, Chakrabarti gave a lecture to advance the ideas articulated in these essays and his book. An abridged video of this lecture is now available as well.
An abridged version of Chakrabarti’s June 2013 League lecture on the occasion of the publication of his new book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America.
March 23, 2011 | A love letter to Japan, a country that has shaped Chakrabarti’s beliefs in the importance of dense urban living.
February 16, 2011 | Examining the protests unfolding across the Middle East in terms of how urban space can enhance or prohibit social change.
October 8, 2010 | The fate of ARC, the largest mass transit project in the nation, and why it is needed now more than ever.
September 13, 2010 | Chakrabarti considers a climate of religious and cultural intolerance and its implication for a country of cities.
July 21, 2010 | Chakrabarti ponders the physical manifestation of future population growth, asking, “will we live tall, or live in sprawl?”
May 11, 2010 | Self-discipline requires introspection, but how much of it can we muster in a world careening towards 9 billion people?
April 21, 2010 | Jaime Lerner’s transformation of Curitiba is a powerful call to action for designers to initiate change in architectural, ecological, political and urban terms.
January 31, 2010 | Responding to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Chakrabarti considers how heightened investment in the Infrastructure of Tomorrow could be our silver bullet.
December 16, 2009 | In response to the 2009 Copenhagen climate change talks, a strategy to make our country healthy, prosperous and green.
Announcing the winners of the Architectural League Prize 2016: (im)permanence
A collection of the winning essays from the fourth annual Urban Omnibus writing competition, As Seen On [ ].
Torqueing Spheres by IK Studio was the winner of Folly 2015. Explore an interview with Mariana Ibañez and Simon Kim, a photo essay on the fabrication, and other notable entries from this year’s competition.
Watch interviews and lectures from the six winners of the 2015 Architectural League Prize: Clark Thenhaus, Erin Besler, First Office, Landing Studio, mcdowellespinosa, and Thom Moran.