50th Anniversary of Urban Design Lecture: Alex Krieger, “The American City Prior and (Possibly) Following the Pandemic”

An aerial view of Chicago's Millennium Park.

(c) Alex Krieger

The GSD is pleased to present a series of talks and webinars broadcast to our audiences via Zoom.

*This lecture will be ONLINE ONLY. For security reasons, virtual attendees must register. Scroll down to find complete instructions for how to register.

Event Description

American instincts oscillate between the allure of the city and that of life free of city stress; between the temptations of the metropolis, and bucolic retreat from those very centers of civic life. Such oscillations, occurring across American history, have on the one hand enabled the building of Manhattan, the ‘Capital of Capitalism’ (and culture, too) and the invention of the ‘garden suburb’ where family grace was to dwell, prior to metastasizing into sprawl. Drawing on research from his 2019 book, City on a Hill, Krieger’s lecture will track American ideals and shortcomings in these efforts to re-invent settlement.

Screenshot of presentation on Zoom by Alex Krieger. Krieger appears in a small window in the top right. His presentation shows and image of Henry Ford, images of cars, and the text "We shall solve the problem of the city by leaving the city," a quote by Ford.

Screenshot of presentation on Zoom by Alex Krieger. Krieger appears in a small window in the top right. The presentation shows many headlines indicating rising rent prices.


Alex Krieger, FAIA, MCU ’77, has combined a career of teaching and practice, dedicating himself in both to understanding how to improve the quality of place and life in our major urban areas.

Mr. Krieger is Research Professor in Practice of Urban Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he has taught since 1977.  He served as Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design (1998-2004, 2006-2007, 2019-2020), Director of the Urban Design Program (1990-2001), and as Associate Chair of the Department of Architecture (1984-1989). In addition to design studios and seminar courses at the GSD, he teaches a General Education course on the evolution of American cities at Harvard College. In 2017, he was named one of the Fifteen Professor of the Year by the Harvard Crimson.

Mr. Krieger is also a principal at NBBJ, a global design practice. He was founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz until their merger with NBBJ in 2009. Since 1984, he has provided architecture, urban design, and urban planning services to a broad array of clients in numerous cities worldwide, focusing primarily on educational, institutional, healthcare, and public projects in complex urban settings.

In addition to serving on university-wide committees to improve Harvard’s main campus and their expansion in Allston, Mr. Krieger has also served as: member of the United States Commission of Fine Arts (2012-present); member of the Riley Institute (2000-present); founder of the Big City Planning Directors Institute (1999-present); director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (1994-1999); member of the New England Holocaust Memorial Committee (1989-2000); and member of the Boston Civic Design Commission (1989-1997). He is also a board member for the Boston Public Library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map and Education Center and for Historic Boston.

Mr. Krieger received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of City Planning in Urban Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Major publications include: City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present (Harvard University Press, 2019); Urban Design (with William Saunders, University of Minnesota Press, 2009); Remaking the Urban Waterfront (with Bonnie Fisher et al., Urban Land Institute, 2004); Mapping Boston (with David Cobb and Amy Turner, MIT Press, 1999); Towns and Town-Making Principles (with Andrés Duany et al., Rizzoli, 1991); and A Design Primer for Cities and Towns (with Anne Mackin, Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, 1989).

How to Join

Register to attend the lecture here. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. This link will also be emailed to you.

The event will also be live streamed to the GSD’s YouTube page. Only viewers who are attending the lecture via Zoom will be able to submit questions for the Q+A. If you would like to submit questions for the speaker in advance of the event, please click here.

Live captioning will be provided during this event. After the event has ended, a transcript will be available upon request.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].