This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen an explosion of internet speculation about the “future of cities.” Apparently, they are either doomed—or destined to prevail. The office is dead (obviously), the office tower (especially tall ones) clearly a building type in need of a proper funeral. All kinds of chatter have subsequently ensued (we have time on our hands) about the dire outlook for public space, the impending collapse of public transportation, the inevitable return to the suburbs, even the (gasp!) demise of the luxury cruise ship. We’ll see; we’re still wandering around in the dark here and might be for some time. With that somber thought in mind, I reached out to Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic and urbanist, for what I felt certain would be a nuanced and measured take on our presently fraught moment. (A note: we spoke prior to the protests, which have erupted in American cities in response to the murder of George Floyd.) For the most part, we resisted the urge to make sweeping and almost certainly premature predictions about our urban future.