28: Can Designers Improve Life in Non-Formal Cities? S/S 2008


America’s design culture has shifted toward efforts to improve social and environmental conditions. Helping the disadvantaged entails risks of top-down power relationships and the ignorance of outsiders. To avoid this, designers in this issue have worked at small scales in collaboration with the people affected by their projects. The need for attention to the urban poor is increasing drastically with both relentless Third World urbanization and a lack of adequate land and housing for the one-billion additional slum dwellers projected to exist by 2020.

Table of Contents


Beyond the ADA

Thomas Spector

Border Crossings: Estudio Teddy Cruz

John Beardsley

Can Good Design Advance Urban Development? On the Harvard Design Magazine Symposium “Can Design Improve Life in Cities? The Cases of Los Angeles, London, and Chicago”

Timothy Love

Contemporary Ornament: The Return of the Symbolic Repressed

Robert Levit

Designing Process: Flavio Janches and Max Rohm

John Beardsley

Director Medvedow, PUT BACK THAT SCREEN!!!: ICA/Boston

Jeffrey Kipnis

Dirty Water: The Guarapiranga Water Reservoir, Parque Amelia, Watery Voids: MMBB

Christian Werthmann

Equalizing Mobility: TransMilenio Bus System: Cictorutas and Ciclovia: Alameda El Porvenir; Usme: City of Bogotá

John Beardsley

Evangelical Architecture: Megachurch Images

Myev Rees, Peter W. Williams

Improving Informal Settlements: Ideas from Latin America

Christian Werthmann, John Beardsley

Instant Cities, Instant Architecture, and Incremental Metropolitanism

Ellen Dunham-Jones, June Williamson

Interventions for the Socio-Urban Integration of the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

Maria Lúcia (Lu) Peterson

It Takes Three: The “People,” Businessmen, and Government Officials. To Use Mexico City’s Left-Over Spaces for Social Inclusion

Enrique Martin-Moreno C.

Kibera Public Space Project by Kounkuey Design Initiative: Co-Designing Productive Parks with the Poorest of Kibera, Kenya. GSD Graduates Help a Nairobi Community

John Gendall

Lake Ecologies: El Caracol: José Castillo, Architecture 911

John Beardsley

Making History: The Favela Bairro Program and More

Christian Werthmann

Peripatetic Invisibility, or, Not Enough Ado about Nothing: ICA/Boston

Sylvia Lavin

Resisting Representation: The Informal Geographies of Rio de Janeiro

Daniela Fabricius

The Social Functions of NIMBYism

Matthew J. Kiefer

The Solution is Not Architectural: Housing Problems of the Poor in Tijuana

Tito Alegría

Urban Acupuncture: Urban Think Tank

John Beardsley

Urban Connectors. Fostering the Integration of Formal and Informal Settlements

David Gouverneur, Oscar Grauer

Urban Peripheries, Invention, and Citizenship

James Holston, Teresa Pires do Rio Caldeira


Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics after Modernism by Felicity D. Scott

Keller Easterling

Bauhaus Culture: From Weimar to the Cold War by Kathleen James-Chakraborty

Joan Ockman

From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture’s Encounter with the American City by Nathan Glazer

Daniel Naegele

Recombinant Urbanism: Conceptual Modeling in Architecture, Urban Design, and City Theory by Grahame Shane

Thomas Bender

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

Daniel Naegele

The Culture of Building by Howard Davis

Daniel Willis

The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted Volume 7: Parks, Politics, and Patronage, 1874-1882 edited by Charles E. Beveridge, Carolyn F. Hoffman, and Kenneth Hawkins

John Dixon Hunt