Lecture: A Country of Cities

Recorded: June 17, 2013
Running time: 14:57

In this edited version of his June 2013 lecture, Vishaan Chakrabarti lays out the background and argument of his new book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America. His thesis is that well-designed cities are the key to solving America’s great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs, and decreased social mobility.

Chakrabarti, an architect, urbanist, author, and professor of real estate development, gives a brief history of what he refers to as the “subsidy regime” in the United States–from transportation to energy to housing–explaining the profound effects these policies have had on the way we build. Chakrabarti also offers his ideas for addressing our country’s seemingly most intractable problems, ideas that hinge upon his definition of the “high-low city:” a hyper-dense mix of up- and downzoned neighborhoods, that can provide affordable and enjoyable cities served by modes of rail-based transit.

Watch the video to learn more about Chakrabarti’s thesis and achieving “civic delight” in our 21st-century cities.