Alex Krieger is the latest faculty member to join the CAMD architecture program as a Distinguished Professor of the Profession. In his classes, he will ask students the same question he and his colleagues at NBBJ grapple with: “Can cities be designed for people, not cars?”
Krieger believes the answer is a resounding “yes.” As a founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz and a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, he has spent his career aiming to make cities more livable for their residents. “[I]t’s kind of nice to know that you helped improve the well being of a bunch of people, whether it’s a health care building, or a promenade, or a modest center for a private school in Cambridge,” he told the Harvard Crimson in 2017. His projects include The Bund, a waterfront linear park in Shanghai, and the revitalization of Central Square in East Boston.
The pandemic and the rise of remote work have led to us reevaluate our relationship to urban centers, he writes. However, Krieger remains optimistic about cities.
His latest book, City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present, tracks our pursuit of utopia from Manifest Destiny to now. He dives into examples from the recent past, like Walt Disney’s original concept for the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow (EPCOT), as well as more recent “e-topias,” the name for smart cities designed for the creative class. Just last year, billionaire Marc Lore announced his plans for Telosa, an urban utopia meant to bring its residents the best of city living. Many of these utopias are designed to make humans happier. They are walkable, accessible by mass transit, and close to cultural centers.