Columbia University’s Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture was founded in 1982. Its mission is to advance the interdisciplinary study of American architecture, urbanism, and landscape. A separately endowed entity within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, it sponsors research projects, workshops, public programs, publications, and awards.
The following publication, The Art of Inequality: Architecture, Housing, and Real Estate — A Provisional Report (details below) is now available for shipment to architectural libraries across the country. You may request copies via Jacob Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
A Provisional Report
240 pages, Illustrated, ISBN: 978-1-941332-22-1
Reinhold Martin, Jacob Moore, and Susanne Schindler, eds.
With contributions by Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió, Erik Carver, Cezar Nicolescu, Pollyanna Rhee, and Sonya Ursell
From The Art of Inequality: Architecture, Housing, and Real Estate — A Provisional Report:
In 2013, in the United States, the median-income white household’s net worth was thirteen times that of the median-income black household. In 2014, the world’s eighty-five richest individuals held as much wealth as the world’s poorest 3.5 billion. In 2015, 88,000 households applied for the chance to live in fifty-five below market-rate apartments, accessible through a “poor door” on New York City’s Upper West Side.
What is inequality? Typically, inequality is defined by a combination of economic measures referring to income and wealth. Entire populations, in the language of statistics, are measured and managed according to their place on the inequality spectrum: patronage for the 1%, morality for the ambiguous “middle class,” and austerity for the rest. This economic inequality is, however, inseparable from social disparities of other kinds—particularly in the provision of housing. More than just a building type or a market sector, housing is a primary architectural act—where architecture is understood as that which makes real estate real. It begins when a line is drawn that separates inside from outside, and ultimately, one house from another. The relation that results under the rule of real estate development is—by its very structure—unequal.
This is the art of inequality. Its geographies are local and global. Its histories are distant and present. Its design is ongoing. Its future is anything but certain.