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Cities Discussion Considers the Paths and Histories of Urban Environments

STUDIO-X NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 9, 2010

Lapham’s Quarterly and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation presented CITIES, a conversation moderated by Columbia dean Mark Wigley with editor Lewis Lapham, Radiolab host Robert Krulwich, architect Jeffrey Inaba, and historian Andrew Dolkart at New York’s 92Y Tribeca.

The evening was inspired by the fall issue of Lapham’s Quarterly, which explores the theme of “The City” through literary and historical texts by authors including Charles Baudelaire, Joan Didion, Ralph Ellison, Groucho Marx, Thucydides, Vitruvius, and E.B. White.

Reflecting the style of the journal in which one theme links together multiple narratives, the panelists each shared their distinct perspectives through which they investigated cities. In introducing the issue, Lewis Lapham put forth its central notion that “the city is an act of our imagination” and that the most successful cities are those which capture the common affection of their citizens. Robert Krulwich further defined the act of imagination as a personal sonata and offered the audience a glimpse into his. Andrew Dolkart defined dynamic cities as those which look to the future while intelligently preserving their past all while providing for their citizens to intermix and mingle. Jeffrey Inaba offered insight into his recent research, which indicates that people’s attitudes towards the city have little correlation to its economy.

The panelists also responded to questions posed by Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG on the topics of divided, imagined, and feral cities.
For a video of the entire discussion, click here. Photos can be viewed here.