This session of the Housing Density lecture series featured architects and historians Richard Plunz and James Sanders who discussed the early 20th-century alternative models of decentralizing the dense tenement districts of the Lower East Side: the construction of garden apartments in the boroughs and the short-lived, late-1920s trend to erect skyscraper complexes such as Tudor City and London Terrace in Manhattan. Richard Plunz focused on the 1920s low-density development in Queens, with emphasis on the neighborhood of Jackson Heights. James Sanders recounted his childhood in Tudor City and analyzed its successful urbanism, which he summarized in the slogan “You Can Have It All.”
Richard Plunz is Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP, where he has served as Chair of the Division of Architecture, Director of the Urban Design Program, and currently, as Director of the Urban Design Lab, a research unit of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. His classic volume A History of Housing in New York City (Columbia 1992) was published in a revised edition in 2016.
James Sanders is an architect, filmmaker, and author of numerous books, including Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. With Ric Burns, he co-wrote the eight-part Emmy Award-winning PBS series “New York: A Documentary Film” and its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his research on the experience of cities, and serves on a consulting basis as Global Design Council Chairman of the architecture firm Woods Bagot.
Carol Willis is an architectural historian. She is the founder, director, and curator of The Skyscraper Museum.