Network City

“Cities are communications systems.” – Ronald Abler

Network City explores how key urban areas have developed as ecosystems of competing networks. Networks of capital, transportation infrastructures, and telecommunications systems have simultaneously centralized cities while dispersing them into larger posturban fields such as the Northeastern seaboard or Southern California. Linked together through networks, such cities form the core of global capital, producing the geography of flows that structures economies and societies today.

But networks, infrastructures, and property values are the products of historical development. To this end, the course surveys the development of urbanization since the emergence of the modern network city while also focusing on conditions in contemporary urbanism.

A fundamental thesis of the course is that buildings too, function as networks. We will consider the demands of cities and economies together with technological and social networks on program, envelope, and plan, particularly in the office building, the site of consumption, and the individual dwelling unit. In addition we will look at the fraught relationship between signature architecture (the so-called Bilbao-effect) and the post-Fordist city.

Throughout the course, we will explore the growth of both city and suburbia (and more recently postsuburbia and exurbia) not as separate and opposed phenomena but rather as intrinsically related. Although the material in the course is applicable globally, our focus will be on the development of the American city, in particular, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles.


Student Work, 2011

The Misadventures of 903 Units

This book explores Frank Gehry's Beekman Tower, its developers' attempt to create a residential Bilbao-Effect in Manhattan, and the trouble that they encountered during the housing crisis.

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Student Work, 2010

Fiber Finance

Michael Walch

This book investigates the growing role of fiber optic technology in financial trading, taking lower Manhattan as its focus and examines the consequences for the city. 

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Student Work, 2008



Sharon Kim, Christian Ruud, Marlo Brown

This book explores eBay's first venture into physical space with eBay neighborhoods and its shortcomings.

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network logics of

Get Big Fast: The Network Logics of

Danil Nagy

This book analyzes in terms of its unique logistical systems, both virtual and physical, and how the two work together to make the business possible. 

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Student Work, 2007

hello, neighbors image

Hello, Neighbors!: Outdoor Flyers, Online Forums, and an Eye Towards Collective Neighborhood Communication

Candy Chang

(done in conjunction with an urban planning thesis with Sarah Williams)

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Jane Lea

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boomburbs image


by Li Xu, Anna Kenoff, Julia Molloy

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i id ny image

I id New York

by Tiffany Schrader-Brown and Adam Schrader-Brown

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Student Work, 2003

gps unit

Immersive Mapping, GPS, and the Tunnel Effect

Ken Kubiak

Ken Kubiak's Java application lets you see what you're missing as you drive the I-5 through Los Angeles. This may not work in all browsers. It does work in Apple's Safari.

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Student Work, 2001

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Pollinating Style & Lifestyle Collection:

A Study of Underground Boutiques  

John David Lessl

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chungking road

Chung King Road

Nadine Schelbert

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Student Work, 2000

SBUX: An Analysis of Starbucks as an Urban Project 

Paul Wysocan, Jared Ward, and Jonathan Garnett

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