She said to him, "You be the driver and I'll be the madam," then they picked up the fender and posed. Hillbrow, Johannesburg, 1975 © David Goldblatt

The Learning From… series takes its title from Learning From Las Vegas (1972), Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s influential publication, which analysed the commercial strips and architectural symbolism of Las Vegas in order to understand urban sprawl. In this spirit, the series brings together experts to explore specific urban conditions and their relevance to the future development of cities.


Learning from… Madrid, Spain
Javier Arpa
4 December 2014

Learning from… Nairobi
Filippo Romano
9 October 2014

Learning from… Labrador Trough
Alessandra Ponte and Stephan Kowal
2 October 2014

Learning from… Saadiyat
Rachel Keeton looks for the future of private development in Saadiyat Island, a “dreamscape” created by Tourism Development & Investment Company just half a kilometer from downtown Abu Dhabi.
21 August 2014

Learning from… Tongzhou
Jing Zhou compares the development of Tongzhou, China and Almere, Netherlands, and argues that modernist planning has been ineffective in creating the spatial and social diversity necessary for a vital new town.
10 April 2014

Learning from… Caracas
Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler’s film, Comuna under construction (2010), begins with the story of a poor hillside community in Caracas as its inhabitants decide whether they want to organize into a formal council with local power and responsibility.
5 May 2014


Learning from… Johannesburg
David Goldblatt and Ivan Vladislavic talk about their joint publication TJ/Double Negative, an innovative combination of photographs and fiction that tries to make sense of Johannesburg.
9 May 2013

Learning from… Montréal
Lance Blomgren uses his 2009 book Walkups—a novella set entirely within Montréal’s row house apartment buildings—as a springboard for an analysis of the discursive plane of fictional architecture
2 May 2013

Learning from… Detroit
Julian Temple’s 2010 TV documentary Requiem for Detroit? charts the rise and fall of the “Big Three” in Detroit: General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
25 April 2013


Learning from… Ordos
A screening of Ai Weiwei’s film “Ordos 100” which documents the site visits of a e project to masterplan a quarter in a Mongolian city and populate it with buildings by 100 international architects.
8 November 2012

Learning from… Luanda
Paulo Moreira presents a film on the informal settlement of Chicala in the Angolan capital in which he has lived in and studied. Moreira suggests lessons can be learned from the ingenuity of the building there
1 November 2012

Learning from… Chisasibi
A conversation between artist Thomas Kneubühler and filmmaker Ernest Webb, who explore the significance of housing and human migration in a small town in Northern Quebec
25 October 2012

Learning from… Mexico City
The attempts to provide mass housing in the Mexican capital reveal as much about social disparities as solving them. Arturo Ortiz Struck’s lecture explores the implications for architects.
10 May 2012

Learning from… Hong Kong
Self-built settlements on the roofs of high-rise buildings have been an integral part of Hong Kong’s history for over half a century. Rufina Wu and Stefan Canham present their study.
3 May 2012

Learning from… Brussels
Examining waste in their home city Michael Ghyoot and Maarten Gielen from design practice Rotor show how taste is intimately linked to the practices and tools of design, distribution and production
19 April 2012


Learning from… Bahrain
Artist Noura Al-Sayeh examines the multiple ecological effects of land reclamation in the Middle Eastern state, noting the appropriation of the coastal areas by local users as public space.
6 October 2011

Learning from… Dubai
There are a myriad of interactions among the city’s migrant workers points out Yasser Elsheshtawy. He asserts their legitimacy vis-à-vis the city with a wider implication for all cities.
29 September 2011

Learning from… Cairo
Nasser Rabbat challenges the traditional framing strategies of the Egyptian metropolis (East vs. West or traditional vs. modern) focusing instead on the dialectical relationship between modernity and history.
15 September 2011

Learning from… Israel
Yuval Yasky presents the kibbutz as a radical alternative to familiar types of human settlement and makes a claim for it as a radical alternative to other models of urban and rural living.
31 March 2011

Learning from… Calgary
The rapid development of bitumen deposits in northern Alberta is having a profound effect on the character of the region. Andrew Nikiforuk explains the wider significance.
17 March 2011

Learning from… London
Kieran Long says that London has forgotten how to talk about itself. His lecture is effectively a story about the difficulty of describing a city in all its richness.
10 March 2011


Learning from… Burkina Faso
Diébédo Francis Kéré discusses architectural projects in the rural community of Gando, Burkina Faso amongst others, and the importance of involving local communities in the building process.
29 April 2010

Learning from… São Paulo
Sao Paulo offers a key towards its own salvation, argues Angelo Bucci. The city itself can provide new, meaningful images to help solve the architectural problems of day.
22 April 2010

Learning from… Beirut
Hashim Sarkis, Aga Khan Professor at Harvard University proposes an alternative reading of urban issues in Beirut that considers elements beyond the city’s post-war reconstruction and identity politics.
11 March 2010

Learning from… Toronto
The multiculturalism of the Greater Toronto Area is challenging perceptions of how a cosmopolitan city can function in a globally connected world. Ian Chodikoff makes a case for the suburbs.
4 March 2010


Learning from… Los Angeles
Los Angeles-based historian and tour guide Richard Schave examines developments in Los Angeles since the landmark film Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles.
28 May 2009

Learning from… Shanghai
In 2001, Shanghai announced a development plan for a series of towns each built around a theme inspired by a different Western tradition. Chinese urban theorist Xiangning Li examines them.
7 May 2009

Learning from… Mumbai
Rahul Mehrotra, Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT in the United States, presents a reading of Mumbai’s form as a symbol of India’s emerging urban culture.
9 April 2009

Learning from… Niagara Falls
Architectural historian Barbara Penner traces the evolution of Niagara Falls – from the part it played in defining 19th-century honeymoon tourism to the depths of kitsch to its rebirth as a honeymoon destination.
23 April 2009

Learning from… Rome
Filmmaker and photographer Armin Linke reveals the societal changes, cultural complexities, and beauty of contemporary Rome through two short films and architectural photographs from his archives.
5 March 2009


Learning from… Brussels
Because of its antagonistic urban and architectural form: a true arena of contrasting urban paradigms, Iwan Strauven argues that the Belgian city makes an ideal capital of Europe.
29 May 2008

Learning from… Winnipeg
A screening of My Winnipeg, Guy Maddin’s surreal homage to his hometown. The film won the Best Canadian Feature award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
8 May 2008

Learning from… Dubai
Shumon Basar, co-author of Cities from Zero, presents Dubai in a new critical light and wonders whether the Middle Eastern city state represents a new, proto-typical urban condition.
3 April 2008


Learning from… China
A lecture by Gregory Guldin, Professor of Anthropology at the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in Tacoma, Washington and a specialist in Chinese urbanisation.
3 May 2007

Learning from… Tokyo
In this lecture entitled Tokyo Nine Flux, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto from Atelier Bow-Wow interprets urban space in Tokyo as a causal chain of responses to flux.
26 April 2007

Learning from… Astana
Jeffrey Inaba looks at the architectural culture operating in the capital of Kazakhstan, an oil and natural gas-rich nation with a strategic geographical location.
19 April 2007

Learning from… Vancouver
Trevor Boddy examines the city’s influential model of high-density housing combined with green space almost 20 years after its radical redevelopment plan.
5 April 2007

Learning from… Lagos
A screening of Lagos Wide and Close: a film by Bregtje van der Haak with Rem Koolhaas and The Harvard Project on the City
29 March 2007

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