50: Today’s Global S/S 2022


Cover of Harvard Design Magazine Issue 50

The hyperconnected world of the late 20th and early 21st centuries has revealed that effortless mobility, wealth, and access for some has been attained at the cost of immobility, inequity, and displacement for others. We have entered a phase of critical backlash against globalization, which is for some a critique of international integration, for others a critique of global capitalism, and for most, a shared global concern over climate crisis. The contradictions propel us to ask: What is today’s “global”?

Harvard Design Magazine’s 50th issue is edited by Sarah M. Whiting and Rahul Mehrotra. Its theme, “Today’s Global,” aims to avoid a simple and ineffective return to a mere celebration of the local or the regional. This is a moment instead to foster a nuanced understanding of where design “sits” vis-à-vis our planet and to advance a more productive discourse on globalization. The issue relies on novel examples of design—and even the design of writing—to further today’s global from multiple vantage points.

What, for example, are the new rubrics by which we organize, understand, and situate our agency as architects and planners in the world beyond imagining it in terms of binaries? How might we slow the current pace of consumption and production, set by capitalism’s ever accelerating metronome? What might define the global design imaginary in the throes of a planetary climate crisis? How might we instigate new forms of collaborations that transcend national boundaries, and new forms of knowledge production that transcend our current notions of interdisciplinarity? Could design foster a planetary civil society? How might designers situate or align themselves with these new formations of patronage? And what role might schools have in articulating and advancing a contemporary understanding of the global?

Table of Contents

Editors' Letter

Editors’ Letter

Sarah M. Whiting & Rahul Mehrotra


From Model Village to Groundwater Earth

Anthony Acciavatti

From the Grand Tour to the …. What?

Alex Anderson

Globalized Templates and Urban Imaginaries

Edgar Pieterse

Globalizing Urban Governance

Anel du Plessis

Men of Honor and Taste

Romi Khosla

Seeing Ukraine Then and Now

Jerold S. Kayden with photographs by Christina E. Crawford

Summit Urbanism: The Anticipatory Modernism of Non-Alignment in Sri Lanka

Anoma Pieris

The Elastic City

Els Verbakel

The Other Global Regime: Architects and Urban Planners in the Age of “International Development”

Tom Avermaete & Maristella Casciato

The Permanent Temporariness of Heritage

Lucia Allais, Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti


A “Mondialisation” to Strive for, Rather than a Globalization to Succumb to

François Jullien & Sarah M. Whiting

A World Architecture

Kenneth Frampton & Sarah M. Whiting

Against Neoliberalism’s Globalization: A Conversation with Rem Koolhaas

Sarah M. Whiting

City Architecture

Christopher C. M. Lee & Ron Witte

Globalization in Time

Arjun Appadurai & Rahul Mehrotra

Post-West Globalization

Peter G. Rowe & Shiqiao Li

Shared and Specific: Landscape’s Global Horizons

Kate Orff & Sarah M. Whiting with photographs by Richard Misrach

Tropical Architecture: A Focus on the Local

Bruno Stagno & Rahul Mehrotra

What if Africa, not Europe? A Conversation with Lesley Lokko

Sala Elise Patterson

Photo Essay

Placing Together and Taking Apart

Sumayya Vally with introduction by Natalia Grabowska


Call & Response: “What Does it Mean to be a Global Practitioner Today?”

Jennifer Newsom, Momoyo Kaijima, Cecilia MoSze Tham, Bryan C. Lee Jr., Anne Lacaton, Jorge Francisco Liernur, Liz Ogbu, Naksha Satish, Aeshna Prasad, Farshid Moussavi, Marina Tabassum & Ken Yeang

Peace is Hard Work on the Ground: An Excerpt from BLUE: The Architecture of UN Peacekeeping Missions

Malkit Shoshan with introduction by Ole Bouman

The Global Villager

Roundtable with Tiantian Xu, Zhao Yang, Yanfei Shui, Mark Lee & Yun Fu


Editorial Director
Julie Cirelli

Production Manager
Meghan Ryan Sandberg

Guest Editors
Sarah M. Whiting
Rahul Mehrotra

Graphic Design & Art Direction
Alexis Mark

Rachel Holzman

Kevin Broccoli

Researchers & Interns
Ilana Curtis, Amelia Gan, Elitza Koeva, Vivienne Shi

Flagship Press, North Andover, Massachusetts, USA