In 2004, when Lockhart Steele first started writing about his neighborhood, New York’s Lower East Side, under the name "Curbed," blog networks were scarce, scrappy, and beholden to no one. Eleven years on, we’re beholden to a few more people, but for all the right reasons: Obsessing about where you live is an overwhelming concern and endless pastime.
Exactly one year ago, I was in Arizona taking a quick, sun-bleached timeout between my four-year stint at Dwell and my incipient role at Curbed and Vox Media. I made a pilgrimage to Arcosanti—the concrete, sustainable-before-it-was-trendy community built in the 1970s by architect Paolo Soleri—which strikes me now as setting the tone going into Curbed as its first editor-in-chief. Arcosanti is visually magnificent, but attuned to the quotidian needs of its residents. The community and its guests are earnest and passionate, educated and informed. It’s an extant archive with real-world implications for today’s mode of living.
"Corbusier gave the people higher ceilings, literally and metaphorically." —Kanye West
As databases like Zillow, Houzz, and even Pinterest rise in popularity, so does the collective awareness around homes and architecture. Curbed has always been an integral part of the growing design industry online, and by providing analysis, coverage, and insight, we apply an editorial lens to the onslaught of information. Unlike a glossy shelter magazine, we see homes, architecture, interior design, cities, neighborhoods, and properties for sale as related points on a spectrum. An artfully styled home shoot isn’t the be-all-end-of-all in the life of a residence: It’s one station along a continuously evolving timeline.
"Everything hangs on something else." —Ray Eames
No one lives in a vacuum. If you love where you live, or want to, chances are you feel as strongly about the new park on your corner as you do about your lack of dishwasher, or the sustainable properties of a concrete building in the desert.
How we got here
In redesigning Curbed to support the kind of stories we aim to tell, the first priority was to retain our DNA in designing a new logomark. (The parallel is, we think, pretty obvious.) The new logo variations—which work on a variety of backgrounds and scales—pay respect to Curbed’s legacy, while also firming up the idea of Curbed as a network of connected places, not disjointed local sites. As for the color palette, we needed something that fits for both an individual residence and an entire city. A mossy slate (sophisticated, intimate) plays well with what I like to call safety orange, which would feel right at home on a city street.
A not-insignificant part of the launch is a move to Vox Media’s proprietary publishing platform, Chorus, which makes it far easier for our audience to get more of what you crave, via responsive image galleries with big, beautiful photos; interactive maps that work equally well on mobile; data-rich graphics; multi-chapter features, and embedded video.
Where we’re heading
Our mission at Curbed is to tell great stories, delivered with all the context you need to know about homes, neighborhoods, and cities—while serving up a constant source of inspiration. Here are a few new things you’ll find when tooling around:
- More original photography than ever before, like weekly house tours and interior design stories from across the United States, that pop off our platform thanks to art direction from Curbed’s first-ever photo editor, Audrey Levine.
- Maps: more of them, and more essential uses for them as an on-the-go mobile resource. Our new hallmark series of city-based Pocket Guides will be updated every quarter. Curbed is all about place, and Curbed maps can anchor the places you love as well as new places to discover.
- A souped-up longform features program that goes in-depth on the most fascinating stories of our time, including an expanded focus on the West Coast.
- Daily home tech intel: Welcome to the future, where you can unlock your front door with an app and your fridge tweets that you’re running low on vegetables. (It can be a scary place, but we’re here for you.)
- Curbed Handbook is a place for salient advice on building and maintaining a home. We’ll help provide insight on the questions common among current or prospective homeowners: calculating a mortgage, figuring out a reasonable long-term investment, hiring an architect, communicating with a contractor, deciding what furniture works in what sort of space, buying antiques, selecting paint colors, and more.
- Original video series, with editions created specifically for our growing audience on social media from Facebook to Instagram.
- Architecture and design criticism that embraces culture at large. Case in point? Our resident critic, Alexandra Lange, makes a compelling case for architecture emoji.
- Playing up the value of our local coverage by investing in big stories from our 15 sites across the country. You’ll see more original reporting and less aggregation than ever, alongside longform features delving into communities like the Bronx, Oakland, and Austin.
- Speaking of Austin! Curbed’s newest edition—our first new city launch in three years—focuses on the Texas capital city, covering the ATX building boom, nascent tech scene, history of midcentury homes, gentrifying neighborhoods, and cultural clout.
"The public is interested in the built environment. When people travel, what do they do? They look at architecture." —Richard Meier
"Without variety of function and humanity of scale, the city becomes monstrous and insupportable." —Ada Louise Huxtable
Join the conversation
We want Curbed to be your go-to, wherever you are. Get our breaking news updates on Twitter, hunker down with some unbelievable home listings on Facebook, scroll through our aspirational kitchen galleries on Pinterest, or get a daily dose of design inspiration via Instagram. (You can follow me, too, if you’re into concrete, tinted concrete, carved concrete, or windows in concrete.)
Finally, stay tuned for a more granular look at how we'll be doing community on the new site. In the meantime, we know we can count on you for feedback! Do your thing in the comments, or send it over to the tipline.