Essays on The Available City and related matters

“Lots will vary in The Available City,” Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies, vol. 2, George Lewis and Ben Piekut, eds., 57-75.

Michel de Certeau has described our movement about the city as improvisational—as an interaction with a spatial order that not only activates that order’s ensemble of possibilities but transforms and introduces new possibilities for elements comprising that order. However, architecture’s relation to improvisation is not limited to this provision of a fixed context, an offering of material that is the basis of our daily play. A number of writings about architecture and urbanism by Jane Jacobs, Roger Sherman, and Stan Allen identify improvisation in aspects of the design of the city itself. Along with The Available City, a design proposition that explicitly seeks to organize an improvisational production of a new spatial system within the city of Chicago, those writings reveal possibilities for structure that organize improvisational processes as a way of working on the city.

“Curious Mixtures,” Music in Architecture—Architecture in Music, Center, volume 18, Michael Benedikt, ed., Center for American Architecture & Design, 54-63.