Publics. 49 F/W 2021

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Harvard Design Magazine 49: Publics questions how public spaces—the physical, the cultural, and the theoretical—operate in a fragmented social and political environment, both in the US and abroad.

Guest editors Anita Berrizbeitia and Diane E. Davis convene leading public intellectuals, scholars, and practitioners in architecture, urban planning, landscape design, law, and the social sciences and humanities to investigate design theories and outcomes percolating at the heart of national and global cultural discourse. They ponder the fate of “the public” in a world where xenophobic thinking and challenges to communal responsibility are, as the editors observe, becoming ever more dominant, and in which individualism poses a corrosive challenge to collectivity and unity.

This issue integrates theoretical and thematic debates, including over who holds the power to define what is “public,” what roles class, ethnicity, and other identity matrices play in the concept of “the public,” and how the core idea of “a public” may survive—or atrophy—given looming environmental crises and deepening political and economic divisions. Publics enriches this dialogue with spatial and material looks at how the public is constructed and shaped through design projects and cultural production.

The magazine’s introductory essays include contributions from Walter Hood, Sara Zewde, and architectural collaborative Assemble. The heart of Publics applies the immersive editorial structure and spatial rhythm established by its predecessor. In “Sites,” Toni L. Griffin muses on “South Side Land Narratives: The Lost Histories and Hidden Joys of Black Chicago.” “Spaces” offers observations from Frida Escobedo, Ali Madanipour, and others, analyzing what constitutes public space. “Scales” investigates ways in which the concept and shapes of “the public” interact with shared cultural concerns, including environmental justice, public health, and Indigenous land rights. And “Subjects” interrogates the very definition of “public”—especially the people for whom designers shape and create space.

Publics concludes with a call-and-response segment, in which contributors including Christopher Hawthorne, Lizabeth Cohen, and others respond to a provocative prompt: “What is the most important public space worth preserving now?” Answers range from city sidewalks to Boston’s Franklin Park, to the Mississippi River Gathering Grounds, to your own backyard.

Table of Contents

Editor’s Note

Whither the Public?

Anita Berrizbeitia & Diane E. Davis

Essays

Protesting in Times of Social Distance

Tali Hatuka with photographs by Mel D. Cole

South Side Land Narratives: The Lost Histories and Hidden Joys of Black Chicago

Toni L. Griffin

The Perpetual Stranger

Elijah Anderson

Beyond Placing and Distancing: Public Spaces for Inclusive Cities

Ali Madanipour

Designing for Public Trust: From Bounded Rationality to Unbounded Possibilities

Jia Lok Pratt & Emmanuel Pratt

Find a Streetlight, Step out of the Shade

Bonnie Honig

Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, and the Polarized City

Sharon Zukin

Latinidad and the Construction of a New Public in Pennsylviania

A. K. Sandoval-Strausz with photographs by Michael T. Davis

On Grass and Paving Stones: Public Arenas as Contested Grounds

Rodrigo Pérez de Arce Antoncic

Owner, Occupier, Intruder: The Fight for US Public Lands

John Dean Davis

Rethinking Urban Environmental Justice: Who Benefits from Green Cities?

Isabelle Anguelovski

Who is the Public for Whom We Design? And Who Are We to Design For Such a Public?

Thaïsa Way

Interviews

Assemble

Matthew Allen with Fran Edgerley & Louis Schulz

For the People, With the People, By the People

Krzysztof Wodiczko, Malkit Shoshan & Alex Anderson

How Can We Share Space Together?

Walter Hood & Sara Zewde

The Great Disconnect Dr. Abraar Karan on the Crisis of American Public Health

Diane E. Davis & Anita Berrizbeitia

The Object of Applause: Producing a Public

Taryn Simon & Charles Shafaieh

Whose Space Is It?

Frida Escobedo & Sala Elise Patterson

Specials

As of Right: First Nations Reclaim the City

Roundtable with Dan D’Oca, Khelsilem, Gil Kelley, Toby Baker & Andrea Reimer

Call & Response: “What is the most important public space worth preserving now?”

With Margaret Crawford, John Stilgoe, Sara Jensen Carr, George E. Thomas & Susan N. Snyder, Alejandro Echeverri, Ethan Carr, Alex Krieger, Silvia Benedito, Nicole Lambrou, Christopher Hawthorne & Lizbeth Cohen

Colophon

Editorial Director
Julie Cirelli

Production Manager
Meghan Ryan Sandberg

Guest Editors
Anita Berrizbeitia
Diane E. Davis

Graphic Design & Art Direction
Alexis Mark

Copyeditor
Rachel Holzman

Researchers
Kim Cordova, Shira Grosman, Hattie Lindsley, Barbara Miglietti

Printer
Flagship Press, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA