Architect Magazine: Criticism in Crisis


Dear Leader
Staff member
Criticism in Crisis Eva Hagberg Fisher on the recurring refrain of what happened to all the good architecture writing.

From the article:

So I moved to New York to write about architecture, and here’s the totally wild thing about that: it was a viable career. I started writing for the Architect’s Newspaper, which was just launching. And then Surface. And then Wallpaper*. And then The New York Times House & Home section, whose editor threw a Currents (remember Currents?!) my way almost every week. I was always on deadline. Always reporting. Always going to some event with some architect and then meeting another architect. Stories flowed. People seemed to want to read them.


So, aside from the glossies that still have budgets, and which must satisfy editorial needs that seem to revolve increasingly around fame, what happened to all the architecture writing?


Trying to figure this all out, it occurred to me, a person who basically stayed in the library for eight years at Berkeley, that I left New York when architecture was a thing and when I returned, all anybody wants to talk about is … urbanism.


I would argue that one reason is that regular urbanism is easy,” my friend and fellow journalist Greg Lindsay tells me. “It’s writing about bike lanes and pop up parks and a lot of the surface level shit.” I’ve called him, the first urbanist I knew (Greg was into cities long before it was cool), to see if my perception—that we’ve traded one field for another—is right. Another reason why urbanism is hot? “You can do it with relatively inexperienced writers,” he says. Which makes a lot of sense. It’s not that urbanism as a subject is inherently easier to write about, but that there are more angles of attack. Bike lanes! Scooters! Traffic! The subway!


Yep, it's all surface urbanism. Let's talk about cool bike lanes and dockless scooters. Let's not talk about the eminent domain, funding problems, scooter litter, and other considerations to either make these things actually happen or the results of having these things around.