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How Architecture and City Planning Can Combat Social Inequality

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Architect, author, and professor Vishaan Chakrabarti is, despite everything, optimistic

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The future might seem like a bleak place if you're a fan of science fiction, but somewhat less so if you're architect and Columbia professor Vishaan Chakrabarti. "I am actually naive enough to believe that a piece of architecture can impact [issues like climate change and social inequity]," Chakrabarti, the author of the 2013 book A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, says on the most recent episode of The Curbed Appeal. He also gets into his own theories of what makes a succesful city, including the concept of "discursive public space":

I’m a big believer in what I like to call discursive public space, which is this idea that public space isn’t just this place where you go to eat your lunch of sunny day, but it’s where protests happen and it’s where serendipity happens. It’s where you run into people and run into ideas, and I think that is really fundamental to how a good city works and how innovation occurs.

The conversation also veers, as it so often does when discussing future cities, into talk about movies. "Usually, Hollywood depicts future cities in really bleak ways," Chakrabarti, explaining why he is having such a difficult time naming his favorite fictional movie city. If you want to hear what he eventually lands on, you're just going to have to listen to the whole episode.

The Curbed Appeal Vishaan Chakrabarti [Soundcloud]