Professor of Architecture Andrew Shanken has published two new articles this year. He wrote “Unit: A Semantic and architectural History” in the summer issue of Representations and “The Visual Culture of Planning” in the Journal of Planning History. Shanken co-taught the GUH course City of Memory with Prof. Lauren Kroiz, and will be co-teaching with her the Spring 2020 Graduate Interdisciplinary Studio on Berlin.
Shanken, Andrew. “Unit: A Semantic and Architectural History.” Representations 143, (Summer 2018): 91-117. Find the article here.
This essay peers through the peephole of the word unit to reveal the word's journey across multiple fields from the mid-nineteenth century through the present. A keyword hidden in plain sign, unit links science and the world of measurement to society (family units), politics (political units), architecture (housing units), cities (neighborhood units), and, more recently, big data, the carceral state (crime units), and managerial oversight.
Shanken, Andrew. “The Visual Culture of Planning.” Journal of Planning History 17, no. 4 (2018): 300-319. Find the article here.
Over the course of the twentieth century, American planners deployed an array of visual techniques to analyze, represent, and promote the American city. Early planners looked to maps of poverty, disease, ethnicity, war, and land use, as well as archaeology, world's fairs, and the photography of social reform. They became adept at combining drawings, diagrams, and charts to map information and make visual arguments for urban transformation. These techniques were tools of cultural critique and anticipation that shaped American understandings and expectations of cities. This essay surveys the imagery of urban planning as a prompt to historians to pay close attention to the visual culture of urban planning.