Art as Life: "Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream"


Over the next week, I plan to bring you 5 revolutions in city-planning form.

Going to MoMA's always a crapshoot. The permanent exhibitions remain unquestionably fantastic, but the special exhibitions certainly vary in quality (that said, if you haven't seen the Cindy Sherman exhibition, get thee to 57th street)

Despite planning a leisurely afternoon in the museum, my last visit was brief (failure-to-brunch may have contributed to its abbreviation). Accompanied by a friend who's as obsessed with architecture as myself, I was drawn into the vortex of a one-room mind-fuck called "Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream".

Weeks later, the exhibition continues to haunt me; I bring it up in casual conversation without any context to describe it with. Blog post ahoy!

In a nutshell (AAAARGH IN A NUTSHELL!), MoMA invited 5 teams of architects, planners, ecologists, engineers, landscapists and other urban professionals to create new ideas of home ownership and city design. They were assigned cities based on "The Buell Hypothesis," a re-assessment of the American Dream that argues that you "change the dream and you change the city" (you can read the full report here).

The Buell Hypothesis asked the design teams to imagine what a new American suburb might look like with different investment models and a changed responsibility for the "city."

Uniquely, this was not a contest. The five teams were invited to host open conversations with each other at MoMA, and the 5 designs, though wildly different, were actually the product of open collaboration. They have provided five new models of living, working, and commuting in a metropolis. Some of the ideas look like the product of a J.G. Ballard nightmare, but others are truly innovative.

Over the next few days, I will give you a loser look at each of the designs, their innovations, and what I perceive to be relative strengths and weaknesses. I hope that each piece becomes a thought-starter, and I look forward to your thoughts in the comments.

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One Response to “ Art as Life: "Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream" ”

  1. Looking forward to seeing what the teams came up with as their models. And at least at a basic level, I completely agree that creating sustained change in the way we put together cities in a psychological issue; so many conversations I hear that advocate sprawl are full of the word "should," from people who have never fully considered or experienced other arrangements. Take the "should" out of suburbanism and you get a new and very different conversation.


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