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Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change

  • First Congregational United Church of Christ 945 G Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20001 United States (map)

The lecture takes place at The First Congregational United Church of Christ, Second Floor, 945 G Street NW, Washington, DC. Reservations are not required. $10.00 for Latrobe Chapter members, student members (full time) free with ID, $15.00 for non-members.

Beginning with Robert Owen's industrial village in Scotland and concluding with Robert Davis's neo-traditional resort town in Florida, Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019) addresses the twenty-first-century fortunes of planned communities decades after their glory days. The editors will select from their twenty-three case studies on six continents—which include “canonical” designs such as Riverside, Letchworth, Römerstadt and the Cité Frugès in Pessac, as well as lesser-known places such as Den-en-Chōfu, Pacaembu, Sabaudia, and Partizanske—to showcase some of the principal challenges these visually arresting and innovatively designed places face today. In discussing how planners and architects, residents and officials adapt foundational planning principles in ways that sustain a common life in changing circumstances and for new generations, we hope to cross-fertilize workable strategies that respect the spirit of these iconic places across the globe. For iconic communities, resilience is vital: they must devise strategies for change, addressing landscape, architecture, and local culture together while maintaining signature planning features that sustain identity and a sense of place.

A former president of the Latrobe Chapter and the convener of three of its biennial symposia, Isabelle Gournay (Emerita, University of Maryland)  co-edited Paris on the Potomac: The French Influence on the Architecture and Art of Washington, D.C and is currently working on a book on the "Beaux-Arts architect" in North American society.

An associate professor of American Studies and an affiliate professor in the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Maryland, Mary Corbin Sies is an expert on the built environments of North American suburbs and on community studies. She is part of a collaborative team of multidisciplinary scholars and local historians building a digital archive of the historic African American community of Lakeland in College Park, MD; her effort is funded by an NEH Common Heritage grant.

Both speakers are residents of Old Greenbelt, MD and have co-directed the Modern Movement in Maryland survey on behalf of the Maryland Historic Trust.

For more information on Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change, visit: