The Artists, Writers, and Philosophers We Teach

Events and News

« Back to Event List

April 4, 2018

Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City

The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room

Richard Sennett
Professor Emeritus
London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London

Edmund S. Phelps
Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society
Columbia University

Shamus Khan
Professor of Sociology
Columbia University


Building and Dwelling is the definitive statement on cities by the renowned public intellectual Richard Sennett. In this sweeping work, he traces the anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. He shows how Paris, Barcelona, and New York City assumed their modern forms; rethinks the reputations of Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford, and others; and takes us on a tour of emblematic contemporary locations, from the backstreets of Medellín, Colombia, to the Google headquarters in Manhattan. Through it all, he laments that the "closed city"—segregated, regimented, and controlled—has spread from the global North to the exploding urban agglomerations of the global South. As an alternative, he argues for the "open city," where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope. Rich with arguments that speak directly to our moment—a time when more humans live in urban spaces than ever before—Building and Dwelling draws on Sennett’s deep learning and intimate engagement with city life to form a bold and original vision for the future of cities.

Richard Sennett, Senior Fellow at the Center on Capitalism and Society, will be introduced by Edmund Phelps, Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society. Respondent: Shamus Khan, Columbia University Department of Sociology.

This event is free and open to the public.

The event will be followed by a short reception.

Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Center on Capitalism and Society

Sociology Department of Columbia University

The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities