Governing by Design
Architecture, Economy, and Politics in the Twentieth Century
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
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How does change happen? This question underlies the chapters collected in Governing by Design. From this basic query arise new accounts of the twentieth-century built environment that pursue a set of corollary questions: Who authors design? How does architecture participate in modernization? How does architecture govern?...
Part One: Food, Shelter, and the Body
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Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward, written in 1887, begins with a description of the main character, Julian West, refurbishing the basement of his Boston home. Regulating the environment in this underground space, he believed, would make it possible to maintain the vitality of his body through an extended period of uninterrupted sleep. After inviting a professor...
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What is a house? Among other things, it is an instrument for distributing economic risk and opportunity among individuals and institutions. In the United States, two of three owner-occupied houses serve as collateral for the mortgage loan that made the house purchase possible. Through the financial structures that organize homeownership, American...
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In 1951, Boston’s City Planning Board produced a comprehensive urban renewal scheme detailing the city’s woes and imagining a better future. Amid much dry data, one page spread stands out (figure 3.1).1 On the left, a black-inked map of Boston’s West End depicts a crooked maze of dense-packed blocks, back alleys, courtyards, and vacant lots. Atop reads the title “An Obsolete...
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The term “ergonomics” and its adjectival derivative “ergonomic” have become household words. Whether we have come to know them through advertisements for office furniture, from pamphlets circulated by OSHA or corporate HR departments, or from periodic trips to the physical...
Part II: Global States and Citizens
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The Patronato Pro-Urbanismo (Pro-Urbanism Association), a civic group organized in Cuba in 1942 to advocate for national planning legislation, adopted a succinct slogan: “Mejores Ciudades, Ciudadanos Mejores”— better cities, better citizens (figure 5.1). The phrase bound together formal order and social order, cleverly employing grammatical symmetry to construe a reciprocal...
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At the end of the nineteenth century, a group of Iranian reformist intellectuals began to criticize the effectiveness of the rule of the Qajar dynasty (1794–1925).1 After Nasir al-Din Shah’s assassination in 1896, Iran saw a vital new period due to the expansion of modern schools and the growth of publications with themes ranging from geographical discoveries and...
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On May 20, 1963, some 150,000 residents of the newly built Korangi housing colony in Karachi sat outside their houses with their belongings, hoisting black flags to protest the eviction of one “Yusuf Bhutock” from his house by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA ).1 At any other location the protestors would have been dispersed with the baton...
Part III: Engineering and Culture
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Consider the following architectural event: between 1960 and 1980 twenty-four Egyptian temples were surveyed, dismantled, and relocated from their original sites on the banks of the Nile to make way for an enormous reservoir lake created by the building of the Aswan High Dam. Designed to render fertile entire stretches of desert and bring electricity downstream...
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Paris, 1969: A battle raged in neighborhoods, newspapers, and government offices about the future of Parisian urbanism. The wholesale food markets at Les Halles, located in the geographic and symbolic heart of the city since the eleventh century, were about to move to the southern suburb of Rungis, and nothing had been chosen to fill the void they would...
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It may be hard to determine the exact lag in time when hindsight acquires the gray weight of circumspection. Nonetheless, it may not be entirely inopportune to claim that one of the facets of the commercial extravagance of the recently deceased Gilded Age—the burst of financial speculation from the mid-1990s onward to the implosive doldrums of 2008—was the string of commissions...
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Page Count: 300
Illustrations: 55 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Culture, Politics, and the Built Environment