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Jeanne Gang, the architect who was named a 2011 MacArthur “Genius” fellow, and Greg Lindsay, a visiting scholar at New York University, frame the role of the single family house in the financial meltdown. The architect and the scholar highlight the reciprocal problem of banks ignoring and undervaluing design in the housing market and architects ignoring and undervaluing housing, especially in the suburbs, as a design market.
In a NYTimes op-ed, Gang and Lindsay write
better design is precisely what suburban America needs, particularly when it comes to rethinking the basic residential categories that define it, but can no longer accommodate the realities of domestic life. Designers and policy makers need to see the single-family house as a design dilemma whose elements — architecture, finance and residents’ desires — are inextricably linked.
As part of the Foreclosed exhibit at MoMA, Gang studied the suburb of Cicero, Illinois, whose population is heavily immigrant and foreign born. Gang outlines her findings to illustrate suburban America’s current problems and possible solutions.