Archived Video

Thursday, Apr 27, 2023

Lewis Mumford Lecture: “Pressing Change in the Increasing Inflexible City,” Featuring Emily Badger

Archived Video


Thursday, Apr 27, 2023

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
141 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031
Sciame Auditorium

Headshot of Emily Badger, smiling at the camera, dressed in black with a light blue background.

Please join us on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at 6 pm for our prestigious Lewis Mumford Lecture. This year we have the honor to welcome The New York Times staff writer Emily Badger, who will be presenting her lecture "Pressing Change in the Increasing Inflexible City."

All lectures are free, open to the public, and held in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Sciame Auditorium with a remote option available.

If you are interested in attending via Zoom, please register here.

See for current requirements for in-person visitors.


Emily Badger is a staff writer with The New York Times, covering cities and urban policy. She is particularly interested in housing, transportation, and inequality — and how they’re all connected. Prior to joining the Times in 2016, she wrote for The Washington Post and The Atlantic Cities (now CityLab). She grew up in Chicago, a city that has shaped a lot of her thinking about these topics, and today she lives in and writes from Washington, D.C.

"Pressing Change in the Increasing Inflexible City": As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to adapt so much of city life: We need offices to become homes and our homes to become workplaces. We need hotels to become SROs. We need sidewalks to become restaurants, and parking lanes to become bus corridors, and roads dedicated to cars to become safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians. But in many ways, cities have become increasingly inflexible to change, through the cumulative complexity of decades of building and zoning codes, through a tangled mix of good intentions and NIMBY politics. Adapting the city as we need for the future — from the level of individual buildings to citywide policy — will require understanding and confronting that legacy of inflexibility.

Suggested Reading: Whatever Happened to the Starter Home? and So You Want to Turn an Office Building Into a Home?


About the Lewis Mumford Lecture:

Each spring, the Spitzer School of Architecture and its Urban Design Program present the Lewis Mumford Lecture and seminar. Named for writer, architecture critic, and urbanist Lewis Mumford, who attended City College, the series invites the world’s most distinguished urbanists to speak freely and publicly about the future of cities and the social purposes of architecture. This series was initiated by the late Michael Sorkin, distinguished professor of architecture and director of the Urban Design Program at the Spitzer School, and curated by him for eleven years.


Previous Lewis Mumford Lecturers:

2004 Jane Jacobs
2005 Mike Davis
2006 Enrique Peñalosa
2007 Amartya Sen
2008 David Harvey
2009 Paul Auster
2011 Richard Sennett
2012 Janette Sadik-Khan
2013 Marshall Berman
2014 Theaster Gates
2015 Rebecca Solnit
2022 Yasmeen Lari

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