A show about space and the consequences of our designs. Each episode features one author on a new book that offers critical ways of understanding the worlds we make. Transdisciplinary perspectives from across the arts, social sciences, and humanities every Tuesday. From Thinkbelt. Produced by David Huber.

Black Towns, Black Futures by Karla Slocum
Jul 21 • 11 min
Anthropologist Karla Slocum considers the under-recognized contemporary currency of historic Black towns in Oklahoma. Why, despite their small size and uncertain economies, do these places remain attractive?
Modern Architecture and Climate by Daniel Barber
Jul 14 • 11 min
Managing adverse climatic conditions was a significant part of the project of architectural modernism before the proliferation of air conditioning. Daniel Barber traces the conceptualization of the normative thermal interior space—and highlights the rich…
Feminist City by Leslie Kern
Jul 7 • 12 min
Women have been drawn to city life for centuries, despite the persistent tensions, freedom and fear, empowerment and struggle. Geographer Leslie Kern takes an intersectional approach to urban inequality and urges us to change the perspective from which…
The Metabolist Imagination by William Gardner
Jun 30 • 11 min
By conceiving of urban design as constantly changing, the Metabolists opened architecture up to a narrative dimension. William Gardner details the rich exchanges between visionary architects and science fiction authors in postwar Japan.
Urban Horror by Erin Y. Huang
Jun 23 • 12 min
Horror arises when external reality exceeds our internal comprehension. Could it also provoke feelings of resistance we didn’t know we had? Erin Y. Huang deciphers the affective dimension of zones of exception in neoliberal post-socialist Asia.
Free the Land by Edward Onaci
Jun 16 • 12 min
Among its demands for reparations, the New Afrikan Independence Movement sought to create a sovereign nation-state encompassing a large portion of the U.S. South. Historian Edward Onaci contextualizes this radically imaginative movement within past and…
Who Killed Berta Cáceres? by Nina Lakhani
Jun 9 • 12 min
The murder of Honduran indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was the grand finale of years of terror by the company building the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam—enabled and supported by state forces and security forces, by prosecutors, judges, and politicians. For…
Prison Land by Brett Story [rebroadcast]
Jun 2 • 9 min
Why do we design our landscapes to inflict particular kinds of coercive activities on other people? In these week’s episode, a rebroadcast of Interstitial EP005 from September 2019, geographer and filmmaker Brett Story invites us to see, and unsee, the…
Digital Monuments by Simone Brott
May 26 • 10 min
Digital images of iconic architecture have become more valuable and more real than the completed building—if it ever gets built at all. Simone Brott reveals how the superficiality of the image is a technique of neoliberal globalization and an instrument…
Border Land, Border Water by C.J. Alvarez
May 19 • 11 min
The landscape along the US-Mexico border has been manipulated and altered over the past 150 years in an effort to control not only people but also animals, goods, and water. C.J. Alvarez details the history of construction along the international divide.
Sinews of War and Trade by Laleh Khalili
May 12 • 12 min
Modern maritime transportation and the movement of cargo has transformed harbors, ports, and cityscapes, but also social and political relations. Laleh Khalili discusses what it means to tell the story of shipping and capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula…
How the Suburbs Were Segregated by Paige Glotzer
May 5 • 11 min
The Roland Park Company, which developed Baltimore’s wealthiest, whitest neighborhoods starting in the 1890s, had by the middle of the twentieth century an outsize influence on real estate professionals and on local and federal housing policy. Historian…
Solar Power by Dustin Mulvaney
Apr 28 • 11 min
How do we transition to solar power while avoiding the disproportionate impacts we see with our energy systems today? Dustin Mulvaney highlights some of the social and environmental consequences of scaling up the solar industry.
Lurking by Joanne McNeil
Apr 21 • 10 min
What would an ideal internet experience be like? Joanne McNeil explores the 30-year history of online life—the communities and identities and hazards—and imagines how we, the users, might recover some of the potential of our technologies.
Digitize and Punish by Brian Jefferson
Apr 14 • 11 min
Digital technologies have transformed the geography of carceral space, augmenting older forms of racial criminalization via software and dispersed sensors. Brian Jefferson tracks the history of computing in the American criminal justice system.
Improvised Cities by Helen Gyger
Apr 7 • 11 min
Tracing the evolution of aided self-help housing in Peru over three decades beginning in the 1950s, Helen Gyger, a historian of the built environment, contemplates how this hands-on model for improving squatter settlements persisted under different…
Planetary Mine by Martín Arboleda
Mar 31 • 11 min
Reciprocal Landscapes by Jane Hutton
Mar 24 • 10 min
Urban environments are built with materials that come from particular places and have a multitude of other relationships. What kinds of stories can their movement tell us? Landscape architect Jane Hutton follows five materials used in New York City…
Architecture in Global Socialism by Łukasz Stanek
Mar 17 • 11 min
Architects, planners, and construction firms from socialist Eastern Europe shaped the urbanization of West Africa and the Middle East during the Cold War in ways we had not, until now, considered. Łukasz Stanek examines the strategic ambitions and…
The Participant by Christopher Kelty
Mar 10 • 11 min
Why do we participate, and what is that experience really like? Anthropologist Christopher Kelty traces different ways that participation has been formatted across the twentieth century, and, as new technologies obscure the meaning of concept, considers…
Waste by Kate O’Neill
Mar 3 • 11 min
At a time when resources are under great pressure, waste is one of the few resources that is growing rather than shrinking. Kate O’Neill inventories the different forms and surprising itineraries of waste, and explains how this challenges our…
The Great Great Wall by Ian Volner
Feb 25 • 8 min
Border walls always create differences, but not necessarily the ones that were intended. Architecture critic and journalist Ian Volner recounts his experience along some of history’s most significant boundaries.
Out of Stock by Dara Orenstein
Feb 18 • 11 min
In contemporary capitalism, moving is inseparable from making. Dara Orenstein traces the development of logistics infrastructure—from the emergence of the warehouse in the nineteenth century to the boom in foreign-trade zones in the twentieth—to reveal…
Ghetto by Daniel Schwartz
Feb 11 • 11 min
From its earliest use in the mandatory Jewish quarter of sixteenth century Venice to its association with Black segregated areas in postwar America, the term “ghetto” has held a variety of meanings and invoked myriad feelings. Daniel Schwartz traces the…
Black in Place by Brandi Thompson Summers
Feb 4 • 11 min
Washington D.C.’s H Street corridor, a majority-Black neighborhood shaped by segregation and disinvestment, is now marketed as welcoming and diverse. Analyzing the role of blackness in contemporary urbanization, Brandi Thompson Summers explains why…
New Urban Spaces by Neil Brenner
Jan 28 • 9 min
The full complexity of urbanization cannot be understood just by looking at cities. What happens if we embed the urban within a broader hierarchy of interconnected scales? asks urban theorist Neil Brenner.
Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger by Julie Sze
Jan 21 • 11 min
Reflecting on recent struggles—from Standing Rock and Flint to mobilizations in California’s Central Valley and in New Orleans and Puerto Rico following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria—Julie Sze explores how organizers and movements fight and create…
Limits by Giorgos Kallis
Jan 14 • 10 min
How did we come to think of limits as something to overcome? Political ecologist, ecological economist, and degrowth advocate Giorgos Kallis traces environmentalism’s scarcity mentality back to Malthus and explains why we need understand limits as a…
After Geoengineering by Holly Jean Buck
Jan 7 • 11 min
Solar geoengineering and soil carbon sequestration could help avert a climate catastrophe. But what’s the end goal of these technologies? Writer and geographer Holly Jean Buck speculates on their potential for social and economic transformation.
Space Settlements by Fred Scharmen
Dec 10, 2019 • 11 min
In the summer of 1975, NASA recruited architects, artists, and urban designers to envision, alongside engineers and physicists, large-scale cities in space. Designer Fred Scharmen revisits the imagery of this older future.
White Flights by Jess Row
Dec 4, 2019 • 9 min
Novelist and critic Jess Row traces, through postwar American fiction, the movement of the white imagination away from urban spaces and into empty, isolated landscapes.
Building Character by Charles Davis
Nov 26, 2019 • 11 min
In the nineteenth century, under the influence of scientific-rationalism, the concept of the body was transformed into a political tool for representing national identity. Architectural historian Charles Davis reveals the parallels between race and style…
Self-Devouring Growth by Julie Livingston
Nov 19, 2019 • 10 min
Economic growth is a tantalizing promise and formidable environmental threat. Tracing the change in scope of political responsibility in Botswana amidst unchecked development, anthropologist Julie Livingston offers an urgent parable for understanding the…
The Making of Measure and the Promise of Sameness by Emanuele Lugli
Nov 12, 2019 • 9 min
Measurement standards shape space, enforce power, and mold elaborate fantasies. Art historian Emanuele Lugli traces our preoccupation with exactitude back to the Middle Ages
Stone Men by Andrew Ross
Nov 5, 2019 • 10 min
Author and activist Andrew Ross surveys the contributions of Palestinian labor to the building of Israel.
Ugliness and Judgment by Timothy Hyde
Oct 29, 2019 • 9 min
Why does it matter that a building looks one way and not another way? Architectural historian Timothy Hyde considers the role of aesthetic judgments in shaping the way that society acts.
A Future History of Water by Andrea Ballestero
Oct 22, 2019 • 9 min
If water is a human right, what does that mean for a capitalist society? Anthropologist Andrea Ballestero considers change within systems that are supposed to be stuck.
Sad by Design by Geert Lovink
Oct 15, 2019 • 10 min
Social media has penetrated every aspect of our lives, yet no amount swiping or liking ever seems to satisfy us. Media theorist and internet critic Geert Lovink tries to overcome the deadlock of platform capitalism.
X-Ray Architecture by Beatriz Colomina
Oct 8, 2019 • 9 min
If modernity was driven by illness, then modern architecture presented itself as the perfect cure. Architectural historian Beatriz Colomina traces the relationship between a new kind of medical image and a new kind of space.
Circulation & Urbanization by Ross Exo Adams
Oct 1, 2019 • 9 min
Ildefons Cerdà coined the term “urbanization” in the 1860s. Architect and historian Ross Exo Adams takes the Spanish engineer’s writings as a starting point to tell a much longer story of the relationship between circulation and power.
Prison Land by Brett Story
Sep 24, 2019 • 9 min
Why do we design our landscapes to inflict particular kinds of coercive activities on other people? Geographer and filmmaker Brett Story invites us to see, and unsee, the spaces of carceral power.
Corridors by Roger Luckhurst
Sep 17, 2019 • 8 min
Nineteenth century reformers had very positive ideas about corridor spaces as fundamentally changing people. When did that change? cultural historian Roger Luckhurst asks.
Spaceship in the Desert by Gökçe Günel
Sep 10, 2019 • 8 min
After development of Masdar was halted in 2011, the world’s first zero-carbon city was prounounced a failure by the media—as the first green ghost town. Anthropologist Gökçe Günel wanted to understand what else was happening there.
Lina Bo Bardi, Drawings by Zeuler Lima
Sep 3, 2019 • 9 min
Lina Bo Bardi pursued formal ideas, and she drew looking for them. But that’s not where architecture stopped for her. Zeuler Lima—architect, artist, curator, and Bo Bardi biographer—walks us through her work on paper.
Capital City by Samuel Stein
Aug 27, 2019 • 10 min
Urban planners are encouraged to make interventions that only raise land and property values—even when they’re trying to do something entirely different. The contradiction is at the heart of what author Samuel Stein calls the real estate state.