Dana Cuff

Dana Cuff is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA, where she is also Director and Founder of cityLAB. She is a leader of the Urban Humanities Initiative, a UCLA program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Urban Humanities

    New Practices for Reimagining the City

    Dana Cuff, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Todd Presner, Maite Zubiaurre, and Jonathan Jae-an Crisman

    Original, action-oriented humanist practices for interpreting and intervening in the city: a new methodology at the intersection of the humanities, design, and urban studies.

    Urban humanities is an emerging field at the intersection of the humanities, urban planning, and design. It offers a new approach not only for understanding cities in a global context but for intervening in them, interpreting their histories, engaging with them in the present, and speculating about their futures. This book introduces both the theory and practice of urban humanities, tracing the evolution of the concept, presenting methods and practices with a wide range of research applications, describing changes in teaching and curricula, and offering case studies of urban humanities practices in the field.

    Urban humanities views the city through a lens of spatial justice, and its inquiries are centered on the microsettings of everyday life. The book's case studies report on real-world projects in mega-cities in the Pacific Rim—Tokyo, Shanghai, Mexico City, and Los Angeles—with several projects described in detail, including playful spaces for children in car-oriented Mexico City, a commons in a Tokyo neighborhood, and a rolling story-telling box to promote “literary justice” in Los Angeles.

    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00
  • The Provisional City

    The Provisional City

    Los Angeles Stories of Architecture and Urbanism

    Dana Cuff

    How the modern city is formed through an endless cycle of upheavals, demolition, and debate.

    The provisional city is one of constant erasure and eruption. Through what Dana Cuff calls a "convulsive urban act," developers both public and private demolish an urban site and disband its inhabitants, replacing it with some vision of a better life that leaves no trace of the former structure. Architects bring their own utopian dreams to the process. In this book, Cuff examines those convulsions through two underestimated dimensions of architectural and urban form: scale and the politics of property. Scale is intimately tied to degree of disruption: the larger a project's scale, the greater the upheaval. As both culture and geography, real estate plays an equally significant role in urban formation. Focusing on Los Angeles, Cuff looks at urban transformation through the architecture and land development of large-scale residential projects. She demonstrates the inherent instability of very large sites. Having created perverse renditions of the very problems they sought to solve, for example, public housing projects that underwent upheaval in the 1940s and 1950s are doing so again. Cuff explores five cases that span the period from the 1930s, when federal support for slum clearance and public housing caused convulsions near downtown, to a huge 1990s' mixed-use development on one of Los Angeles's last remaining wetlands. The story takes us from the refined modernist architecture of Richard Neutra to the self-conscious populism of the New Urbanism. The cases illuminate the relationship of housing architecture to issues of race, class, urban design, geography, and political ideology.

    • Hardcover $15.75 £12.99
    • Paperback $34.95 £28.00
  • Architecture

    Architecture

    The Story of Practice

    Dana Cuff

    Although architecture is the fastest-growing profession in America, its private context remains shrouded in myth. In this book, Dana Cuff delves into the architect's everyday work world to uncover an intricate social art of design. The result is a new portrait of the profession that sheds light on what it means to become an architect, how design problems are construed and resolved, how clients and architects negotiate, and how design excellence is achieved.

    • Hardcover $27.50 £22.00
    • Paperback $40.00 £32.00