Harvard Design Magazine 49 F/W 2021
Publics questions how public spaces—the physical, the cultural, and the theoretical—operate in a fragmented social and political environment, both in the US and abroad.
Guest editors Anita Berrizbeitia and Diane E. Davis convene leading public intellectuals, scholars, and practitioners in architecture, urban planning, landscape design, law, and the social sciences and humanities to investigate design theories and outcomes percolating at the heart of national and global cultural discourse. They ponder the fate of “the public” in a world where xenophobic thinking and challenges to communal responsibility are, as the editors observe, becoming ever more dominant, and in which individualism poses a corrosive challenge to collectivity and unity.
This issue integrates theoretical and thematic debates, including over who holds the power to define what is “public,” what roles class, ethnicity, and other identity matrices play in the concept of “the public,” and how the core idea of “a public” may survive—or atrophy—given looming environmental crises and deepening political and economic divisions. Publics enriches this dialogue with spatial and material looks at how the public is constructed and shaped through design projects and cultural production.