Makeshift Metropolis

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Professor and Slate architecture critic Witold Rybczynski discusses how current urban planning ideas have evolved from 20th century movements such as City Beautiful, the Garden City, and the ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright and Jane Jacobs. In Makeshift Metropolis: Ideas About Cities, he looks at urban planning for the twenty-first century—creating a new kind of city with mixed-use developments, downtown living, diversity, density, and liveliness.


Witold Rybczynski

Comments [7]

John from Manhattan

Leonard, your casual, uninformed remarks about New York's new pedestrian spaces creating congestion and engendering anger undermine your credibility. The former is not true; the latter is an alternate reality dreamed up by a small number of malcontents and propagated by lazy reporters.

Please educate yourself on this topic before the next relevant segment. I suggest you start by reading Streetsblog.

Dec. 13 2010 01:33 PM
Brett Rodgers from Washington, DC

We're excited to host Mr. Rybczynski at the National Building Museum for the "Intelligent Cities" initiative on January 10 in Washington DC. "Intelligent Cities" explores how information technology informs urban design. You can participate by taking our current poll question on your neighborhood at

Dec. 10 2010 09:23 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

One of Rybczynski's comments was about how much damage was done by Corbusier's ideas. One idea I encountered sometime ago is that the damage to which Rybczynski refers was not from adopting Corbusier's ideas, but from adopting part of Corbusier's ideas.

To take an example, there's a development in Paris which completely follows Corbusier's ideas and it is so desirable that only the wealthy can afford to live there. However, for housing the bulk of immigrants, planners adopting the density component of Corbusier in Paris' suburbs with the result that poor immigrants are simply warehoused with each other, with none of the benefits of the other elements of Corbusier's ideas.

Dec. 09 2010 01:02 PM
Amy from Manhattan

What does Mr. Rybczynski think of the role of community gardens in cities?

Dec. 09 2010 12:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Mass suburbanization was a BAD idea and the chickens are coming home, back to the city, to roost.

Dec. 09 2010 12:55 PM
See from NJ

If I recall correctly, Jane Jacobs moved with her family to Canada because she had a child who was a draft resister during the Vietnam War

Dec. 09 2010 12:50 PM
George from Bay Ridge

Please explain the Brutalism style of architecture.

Are large public works - like bridges - dead?

What role do sports teams and publicly-funded stadiums play in urban development?

What does the guest think about the rise of the hipster and gentrification?

Dec. 09 2010 02:57 AM

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