Transient Spaces Book Launched

The Spitzer School is pleased to announce the publication of Transient Spaces (eds. Loukia Tsafoulia, Suzan Wines, and Samantha Ong), a book that examines transience as a force of opportunity and resilience in the design of cities. The project began from two Advanced Studios taught by Loukia Tsafoulia and Suzan Wines in 2017, and it has evolved into a curated collection of essays and projects about the impact that mass migration is having on cities around the world. Coeditor Samantha Ong B Arch ’18 was a student in one of the studios.

As part of the Fall 2019 Sciame Lecture Series, the Transient Spaces project and the Spitzer School of Architecture hosted two nights of discussions elaborating further on the themes and ideas of the book.

On October 10, Rahul Mehrotra, architect, urban designer, and professor at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, gave a presentation titled, “Transience Across Scales: Reflections from India.” It was followed by the presentation of Filiep Decorte, Deputy Director of UN-Habitat’s New York Liaison Office, titled, “Quito Papers: The Science of Urbanization and the Co-Production of the Open City.” The evening was moderated by Tsafoulia and Wines and led to engaging conversations on redefining citizenship and the classification of cities and, ultimately, transiency as an emerging permanent condition.

The night of November 7 featured presentations by Saskia Sassen, the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and author of numerous books including Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, and by Håvard Breivik, architect, professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO), and member of the Norwegian Refugee Council’s emergency standby roster (NORCAP). The two presentations were followed by a summary of concepts and a provocation addressed by Julio Salcedo, Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the Spitzer School of Architecture. Sassen’s presentation, “I Dream of Transparent Cities,” and Breivik’s, “Public Spaces in Disguise,” led to a discussion, moderated by Tsafoulia and Wines, about the emerging economies and development of cities.

[Videos – Lecture and Discussion]

The November 7 event culminated in the official book release of Transient Spaces. Guests as well as Spitzer School students and faculty celebrated the work and previewed excerpts of the book alongside snacks and refreshments.

For more information on Transient Spaces including how to obtain a copy, please visit or contact