Founded in the early 1950s, Perspecta is the oldest and most distinguished of the student-edited American architectural journals that have appeared in recent decades. Perspecta 30 examines settlement patterns in twentieth-century America. The term "settlement," so critical to the ideology of the country's founding, is used to consider land use, development, and housing in a broad context. The essays address infrastructure, planned communities, zoning, and financing—all critical determinants of how the United States has come to be settled, with implications for the future. The contributors view housing not as an isolated architectural event but as a pervasive societal preoccupation of enormous impact.
The issue includes original documentation of notable housing projects from the 1920s and 1930s, when modernist ideas promised to revamp architecture and when, in retrospect, many of the seeds for post-World War II suburban sprawl were planted. These housing schemes, now viewed as isolated social experiments, suggest alternative settlement patterns that might have developed.
Perspecta 30 features articles by some of the country's leading architectural theorists, critics, educators, and practitioners. Among the contributors are Ed Bacon, Denise Scott Brown, Margaret Crawford, Mike Davis, Keller Easterling, Steve Kieran, Fred Koetter, Alex Maclean, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Alan Plattus, Ron Shiffman, and Neil Smith.