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Lewis Mumford Symposium: Cassim Shepard, Citymakers

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SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism

136 W 21st St, Second floor

New York, NY 10011

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Co-organized with the SVA MA Critical Theory and the Arts program, the Lewis Mumford Symposium is a series of presentations and conversations intended to celebrate thinkers and writers working in the spirit of urbanist Lewis Mumford.

For the first part of this series we welcome author, editor, and filmmaker Cassim Shepard, who will present ideas from his new book Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism (Monacelli, 2017). In Citymakers, Shepard, synthesizes six years of research and reporting as the Founding Editor of Urban Omnibus, one of the leading publications charting innovations in urban practice in New York City. He places these practitioners and projects in fresh dialogue with thinkers across the diverse canons of urban theory, drawing from economics, sociology, architecture, and art history.

After a brief presentation, Shepard will join MA Design Research faculty member Alex de Looz for an on-stage conversation. A reception and book signing will follow in our department.

Cassim Shepard produces non-fiction media about cities, buildings and places. Trained as an urban planner, geographer, and documentary filmmaker, Shepard served as the founding editor-in-chief of Urban Omnibus, an online publication of The Architectural League of New York. His film and video work has been commissioned by and screened at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the United Nations, among many other venues around the world. He teaches in the Urban Design program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and has been a guest lecturer in the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics and a Poiesis Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He studied filmmaking at Harvard University, urban geography at Kings College London, and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism, published by Monacelli Press in 2017, is his first book.


Pierre Alexandre de Looz is a New York- based arts writer, architect, and media consultant. He teaches cultural theory and serves as lead thesis advisor in the MA Design Research program at the School of Visual Arts. He has reported on art, design, and fashion for The New York Times Style Magazine T, Fantastic Man, V magazine, Art in America, Surface, and Tokion, and he is New York contributing editor for the award-winning 032c magazine. In 2006 he co-founded design and culture biannual PIN-UP magazine, and serves as the magazine’s editor-at-large. He holds degrees in Comparative Literature from Yale University and a Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was one of the most prolific and widely read social philosophers of the 20th century. Through his books, public appearances, and "Sky Line" column at The New Yorker, his thinking on cities and the urban environment reached a broad audience as well as influenced multiple generations of urban planners and activists.

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SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism

136 W 21st St, Second floor

New York, NY 10011

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