Lewis Mumford Lecture: “The Architecture and Urbanism of Disability,” featuring David Gissen

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Lewis Mumford Lecture: “The Architecture and Urbanism of Disability,” featuring David Gissen

March 28 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EDT


Please join us on March 28, at 5:30 p.m. for our prestigious Lewis Mumford Lecture. This year we have the honor to welcome the renowned architect, historian, and theorist of disability, access, and the politics of architecture, David Gissen, who will be presenting his lecture “The Architecture and Urbanism of Disability.”

All lectures are free, open to the public, and held in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Sciame Auditorium. Live captioning and ASL interpretation will be available upon request. For access requests or questions, please contact

See for current requirements for in-person visitors.

David Gissen is an author and designer based in New York City. In addition to The Architecture of Disability, he is the author of the books Subnature (2009) and Manhattan Atmospheres (2013). David has held several distinguished faculty appointments, including Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architecture at Yale University; Dean’s Visiting Professor at Columbia University, GSAPP, and University Professor at the Academy of Art in Vienna, Austria. He is currently Professor of Architecture and Urban History at Parsons School of Design/The New School.

“The Architecture and Urbanism of Disability”: The pursuit of architectural “access” and urban accessibility have defined, if not over-defined, the politics of disabled people’s engagements with the built environment. In this lecture, drawn from Gissen’s recent book The Architecture of Disability, the author explains the conceptual underpinnings of accessible design and its limitations. As a complement to the pursuit of access, Gissen proposes a more comprehensive way that disabled people can reimagine their cities and the buildings within them. This latter agenda includes disability critiques of property and development, infrastructural management, public space, and commemoration, as well as the possibility of an “anti-eugenic” urbanism.

Suggested Reading: David Gissen, “The Urbanization of Disability,” from The Architecture of Disability (Minnesota, 2023).


Each spring, the Spitzer School of Architecture and its Urban Design Program present the Lewis Mumford Lecture and seminar. Named for writer, architecture critic, and urbanist Lewis Mumford, who attended City College, the series invites the world’s most distinguished urbanists to speak freely and publicly about the future of cities and the social purposes of architecture. This series was initiated by the late Michael Sorkin, distinguished professor of architecture and director of the Urban Design Program at the Spitzer School, and curated by him for eleven years.


2004 Jane Jacobs
2005 Mike Davis
2006 Enrique Peñalosa
2007 Amartya Sen
2008 David Harvey
2009 Paul Auster
2011 Richard Sennett
2012 Janette Sadik-Khan
2013 Marshall Berman
2014 Theaster Gates
2015 Rebecca Solnit
2022 Yasmeen Lari
2023 Emily Badger


March 28
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EDT
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Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
212 650 7118
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The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture | The City College of New York
141 Convent Ave
New York, NY 10031 United States
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