Category Archives: Video

James Howard Kuntsler: How Bad Architecture Wrecked Cities

James Howard Kuntsler is an outspoken, foul-mouthed critic of modern American suburbia, particularly our wasteful suburban design strategies and drab public space architecture that amounts to soulless communities and “places not worth caring about”. I’m not a huge fan of Kuntsler’s typical brashness, but he is right on in his damnation of bad public spaces.

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Brian Williams on the Violence in Camden, New Jersey

Last month, Rock Center with Brian Williams had an excellent piece on the plight of Camden, New Jersey, America’s poorest and most dangerous city. The words of Father Michael Doyle most resonate with me, saying we should be ashamed as Americans that we could let one of our cities reach this level of despair and dysfunction. And while Camden is certainly among the worst of the worst, there are many other cities and neighborhoods across the US facing similarly crippling conditions of crime and extreme poverty. The fact that the most powerful nation on earth still has neighborhoods where residents can’t even feel safe on their own front steps is indeed a disgrace.

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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

For anyone interested in urban planning, public housing, and the lessons we can draw from the past in those fields, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is essential viewing. It chronicles the rise and fall of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex that “graced” the St. Louis skyline from 1954 til 1972. If you don’t know of Pruitt-Igoe, perhaps you’ve at least seen this iconic photograph, showing its demolition:


In the decades since Pruitt-Igoe’s demise, much has been speculated regarding what exactly caused the project to fail so dramatically. Mismanaged social welfare? Modern architecture? Poor economic conditions?┬áIn interviewing past residents as well as experts on urban policy and St. Louis, the film makes clear the Pruitt-Igoe complex had all the above factors and others working against it. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth aims to bypass the generalities and get at the heart of why Pruitt-Igoe failed from a decidedly personal perspective of the tragedy.

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Aris Venetikidis: Making sense of maps

Cognitive maps, cartographic design, and the simplification of a complex transit system. Really cool work by Aris Venetikidis.

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