• Stories American Cities Tell About the Future
    James S. Russell

James S. Russell, Industrial shared "maker" space, Portland, OR.

Stories American Cities Tell About the Future profiles several cities, revealing strengths and weaknesses common to many. As they confront long-term problems, these cities must now make sense of new trends that challenge older assumptions about what makes cities work. First-hand reporting on the ground turns Knowledge Work Cities, Hypergrowth Metros, and Stagnating Company Towns into dramatic characters, as older cities are consigned to chronic decline, while admired innovation hubs too often serve only the affluent. Cities have been generally slow to recover from the Great Recession, in no small part because global warming, resource shortages (most prominently water), and other environmental hazards are undermining the conventional wisdom on growth. Yet some cities (particularly emerging “maker” hubs) are forging a path to broader well-being that is not dependent on consumption-based growth by creating and conserving green resources.

James S. Russell, FAIA, is the director of design strategic initiatives at the City of New York's Department of Design and Construction. He was the architecture critic at Bloomberg News for nine years, and has written for numerous publications including Business Week, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Russell was a long-time editor at Architectural Record, where his work helped the publication win a National Magazine Award. His book The Agile City: Building Well Being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change argues that adapting cities and communities can quickly slow global warming and blunt its effects and was published by Island Press. Russell was an adjunct professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture of the City College of New York and is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He lives in New York.