Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City

General Programming

  • Center on Capitalism and Society
  • Sociology Department of Columbia University
  • Free and open to the public
  • First come, first seated

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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.

  • Speaker Richard Sennett Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics and Political Science University of London
  • Introduction Edmund S. Phelps Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society Columbia University
  • Respondent Shamus Khan Professor of Sociology Columbia University