Monday, June 1, 2015

#23 - Ellen Dunham-Jones - Why Urban Design Trumps Architecture

Nathan Koskovich speaks with Georgia Tech Urban Design Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones about why she, like so many architects, changed her focus towards urban design, and her work as a professor, theorist, and author. 

The lesson? In order to build meaningful buildings, buildings that fulfill the promise of design helping to create a better world, buildings must be placed in a meaningful context. 

Ellen Dunham-Jones is an award-winning architect, professor and Coordinator of the MS in Urban Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She serves on the Policy Subcommittee of the AIA Design and Health Leadership Group, is on the Board of Commons Planning, and is past Board Chair and Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism.  

A leading authority on suburban redevelopment, she lectures widely, conducts workshops with municipalities and consults on individual projects. She has published over 60 articles linking contemporary theory and practice.  She and co-author June Williamson wrote Retrofitting Suburbia; Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs (Wiley & Sons, 2009, updated paperback edition in 2011, mandarin translation in 2013). The book’s documentation of successful retrofits of vacant big box stores, dead and thriving malls, and aging office parks into more sustainable places has received significant media attention in The New York Times, PBS, NPR, Harvard Business Review, Urban Land, Planning, Architectural Record and other venues. The book received the PROSE award from the American Association of Publishers as best architecture/urban planning book of 2009, was featured in Time Magazine’s March 23, 2009 cover story, “10 ideas changing the world right now” and is the subject of her 2010 TED talk and 2012 TED-NPR Radio Hour interview.

She continues to research short and long-term tactics for scaling up suburban retrofitting in the U.S. and abroad. She appeared in the 2011 documentary Urbanized, the 2012 PBS series “Designing Healthy Communities” and contributed chapters to the honorable Henry Cisneros’s 2012 book, Independent for Life, Homes and Neighborhoods for an Aging America and “Irrational Exuberance: Rem Koolhaas in the Nineties” to the 2013 book Architecture and Capitalism. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture from Princeton University and taught at UVA and MIT before joining Georgia Tech’s faculty to serve as Director of the Architecture Program from 2001-2009. 

First a video to set the stage


Triumph of the City (then read this)
Retrofitting Suburbia (now read this)
and this also if you're interested
and this if you want a mental work out

Names to Know

Congress of New Urbanism

Local Architects and Designers

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