Come enjoy a seminar, discussion and drinks reception in celebration of the newly published volume, Routledge Research Companion to Landscape Architecture. I’ll give a short presentation of my chapter, “The Case to Save Socialist Space: Soviet Residential Landscapes Under Threat of Extinction,” which considers typical mass housing complexes constructed by the Soviet state in the 1920s and 1930s, and post-1950—communities designed to meet residents’ housing, educational, cultural, commercial, and recreational needs in all-inclusive precincts. The remarkable eighty-per-cent-open site plans that these complexes proffered signalled the presence of a fully socialist land regime in which land held no monetary value. Now, more than twenty-five years after the fall of the Soviet Union, this exterior collective space that was a hallmark of Soviet socialist housing provision is under threat of extinction. In the spring of 2017, the Russian State government took up a bill to demolish nearly 8,000 ‘decrepit’ Moscow residential buildings in order to parcelize and sell the capacious landscape in which they sit on the open real estate market. The chapter makes an argument for the unique qualities of these disappearing residential landscapes by articulating what so-called socialist space is, how it operates, what makes it worth preserving, and in conclusion offers options for approaching these fleeting remnants of a past economic regime. Join us for the celebration at MIT!
The Anthony Sutcliffe Award from the International Planning History Society recognizes the best dissertation in the field of planning history written in English and completed during the two years preceding the conference. There is no restriction on topic, but submissions that most directly and innovatively address the internationalism of the modern planning movement in line with much of Sutcliffe’s work are especially welcome.
Runner-up prize of the Anthony Sutcliffe Dissertation Award: Christina E. Crawford, "The Socialist Settlement Experiment: Soviet Urban Praxis. 1917-1932". 2016. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
"This dissertation is a very detailed and deeply researched submission, opening up fields seldom explored by the academy so far. The focus on non-official Soviet planning and design experimentation is surprising and provocative, and the work on Ernst May and other actors of the time is magnificent. There is also an incredible work of compiling documents from archives in Azerbaijan, Canada, Russia, and the US, and a deep reflection on the role of architecture and city planning in the USSR. The number of new windows opened up is absolutely impressive."
On behalf of The Anthony Sutcliffe Dissertation Award Committee: José Luis Sáinz Guerra, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain (Chair); Nancy H. Kwak, UC San Diego, USA; Karl Friedhelm Fischer, University of New South Wales, Australia.
Students in the "Mastering the Archive" seminar will be presenting in Session 1 of the sixth annual Atlanta Studies Symposium, held at the Robert W. Woodruff Library at Emory University on April 20, 2018. Come hear their excellent presentations from 9:30-11:00, Rose Woodruff Commons Conference Room, 10th Floor of Woodruff Library.
Panelists for the session include: Kelsey Fritz, Courtney Rawlings, William Ulman, Laney Graduate School; and Tosen Nwadei, Goizueta Business School.
The theme of the 2018 symposium is “Atlanta: City + Region.” The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) projects that the 20-county Atlanta region will grow by 2.5 million to more than 8 million people by 2040. Around 8% of ARC-forecasted growth will occur within the current City of Atlanta boundaries. We cannot plan for this growth without considering the historical context of the city and region, including policies determining—and sometimes limiting—the flow and connectivity among people, jobs, cars, and other transit options through the region. Having this context creates a platform to discuss lessons learned from the past and present to plan for regional growth in a more equitable and sustainable way.
My Spring 2018 course for undergraduates--The Architect + the City--was featured in an article in the Emory Report. It has been a truly fun course to teach, and the students have been wonderfully engaged. It shows in their pithy article quotes!
My Spring 2018 graduate seminar, "Mastering the Archive: Situating Atlanta in the Interwar Housing Debates" was highlighted as a cool course in the Emory Report. The seminar focuses on my new home of Atlanta, the site of the first “slum clearance” project in the United States, in 1934, and America's first completed — though segregated — federally-funded public housing: Techwood and University Homes. Using these projects for research, students gain facility working in Atlanta-area archives through theoretical and historical readings and discussions and hands-on work and workshops with archival specialists. The seminar seeks to plot Atlanta on the interwar architectural map, establishing the city’s role as a clearinghouse for European social housing ideas in the U.S., and as the earliest homegrown precedent for the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal public housing. The students come from Art History, History, and even Emory's Goizueta Business School. It promises to be an intense semester; I'll report back on the results through my Research page.
My article, “From Tractors to Territory: Socialist Urbanization through Standardization” in the Journal of Urban History, was selected as the inaugural winner of the 2017 Emerging Scholar Prize, Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture (SHERA). Thank you to SHERA, and the award jury, for recognizing my scholarship, and for this fantastic opportunity to have my work more widely read. Please email me if you'd like a copy, and do not have institutional access to the SAGE database.
The Redesigning Gridded Cities books are out, including one on Chicago by Joan Busquets and me! Thanks to Harvard GSD Chicago urban design studio participant, now DDes student, Dingliang Yang, the four books--on Barcelona, Chicago, Hangzhou, and Manhattan--are complete, published, and now available on Amazon:
Busquets, Joan and Christina Crawford. Chicago Boundless: Two Grids Between Lake and River (Redesigning Gridded Cities series). San Francisco: AR+D Publishers, 2017.
The phenomenal (in scale and design) Freedom Square in Kharkiv, Ukraine--established in the 1920s--is under threat of serious kitschification. Please consider adding your name to this open letter to Ukrainian President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. To add your signature to the open letter please send your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
An excerpt of the letter is posted below:
"When the monument to Lenin was taken down on the Freedom Square in September 2014, the question arose: how to rethink and redesign the square, a place highly significant for Kharkiv's visual image, a world-famous monument of the 1920s and 1930s architecture and urban planning?...
"On November 2, 2016, the Kharkiv city council announced a 'blitz open competition' for a new monument to be situated on Freedom Square. This competition violated the law in several ways: it was announced as charitable (the winner would not receive a prize), the type of competition was not specified (even though the character of the place calls for an international competition and an international expert jury), and the competition's call for submissions contained neither the essence of the problem to be resolved, nor the criteria by which submissions would be judged. There were no public hearings regarding the fate of this place. Just three months later, on February 3, 2017, the winning submission was announced: an 86-meter decorative column, topped by an angel with a cross, which crudely destroys the unified historical appearance of the square. This winning project has countless analogues in the world while its originality and artistic value are doubtful, to say the least. Kharkiv city residents have already called the project 'odoroblo,' which in Ukrainian means 'a monster.'" ...
The interview that I conducted with Darra Goldstein--Russian literature scholar, food writer, all-around fascinating person--is in the new F/W issue of Harvard Design Magazine (no. 42). Our conversation runs from pickled eggs to Soviet archives. Check it out here.
I'm pleased to participate as a design juror on final reviews at Georgia Tech School of Architecture. Former Harvard GSD classmate, Jen Pindyck, has been guiding her 2nd year MArch students in their analysis of, and intervention in, Clarkston, GA. Clarkston, just east of downtown Atlanta, became a Federal Refugee Resettlement Area in the 1908s, and is now known as the most diverse square mile in the United States. At the midterm, students pitched architectural, landscape, and inventive programming ideas to bolster the existing community and draw visitors to the city. I look forward to seeing what the second half of the semester brought.
At the upcoming 2016 ASEEES Convention (Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) I'll be presenting the paper, "Designing Steel City: All-Union Architectural/Competition for the City of Magnitogorsk, 1929-30," in the panel on Modernism in Soviet Architecture of the 1920s-1930s: Experiments and Myth-Making. Wake up early, and come hear three great presentations! Date/Time/Location: Sat, November 19, 8:00 to 9:45am, Wardman DC Marriott, Mezzanine, Johnson.
I am happy to be participating in the Landscapes of Housing Mellon Colloquium, Harvard University, Friday, October 14, 2016. I'll be giving a talk entitled "Afterlife of a Model Socialist Settlement" on the panel, Housing, Landscape and the Post-Socialist City, which asks how socialist residential landscapes have fared in the 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. It promises to be an intellectually stimulating day, with presentations by practitioners and scholars that will explore the relationship of landscape and housing worldwide.