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  • Faculty

  • Joseph Heathcott

    Associate Professor and Chair of Urban and Environmental Studies


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    Joseph Heathcott



    Select interviews with Prof. Heathcott

    With Der Spiegel newspaper on race, class, and rust belt cities

    With the Yale University School of Architecture Graduate Student Newspaper

    With Vice magazine on recent work in Mexico City.

    With the editors of the Journal of Arts Writing by Students.

    With Here & Now, NPR, segment on urban governance.



    Professor Heathcott ( studies the metropolis and its diverse cultures, institutions, and environments within a comparative and global perspective. His research and teaching interests include: cities real and imagined; architectural history, theory, and criticism in the twentieth century; metropolitan and community studies; race, class, and urban planning; cities as living archives of creativity, urbanity, and design.

    In 2019 Prof. Heathcott taught at the Paris campus of Parsons, and served as a Visiting Scholar at L'École Urbaine, Sciences Po.  In 2016 he was the Mellon Distinguished Fellow at the Princeton University School of Architecture.  During the academic year 2010-2011, he served as the U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair to the United Kingdom at the University of the Arts in London, and as a Senior Visiting Scholar at the London School of Economics. He has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Maastricht, the Catholic University of Lisbon, and the University of Vienna.  

    His work has appeared in a range of venues, from books and magazines, to exhibits, blogs, 'zines, and journals of opinion. His research on the social and design history of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe public housing project led to an exhibition at MIT titled Vertical City and contributed to the documentary film The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. HIs most recent photography exhibits include Post-Acropolis Metropolis, installed at the Town Hall Gallery in Stuttgart, Germany, and BQ Borderlands, installed at the Queens Museum.

    Professor Heathcott has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, U.S. Fulbright, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Erasmus Institute, the Mellon Foundation, The Global Archtiectural History Teaching Collaborative/MIT, the Brown Center for the Humanities, and the Zolberg Institute. He has been invited to lecture, consult, and judge design reviews in a wide variety of venues both in the U.S. and internationally. He frequently volunteers his time with neighborhood groups and community organizations around issues of planning, preservation, and urban design. He served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Urban Pedagogy and the Urban History Association, and as President of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History.  He currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association, and on the editorial boards of the Journal of the Society for Architectural Historians, Planning Perspectives, and the Journal of Arts Writing for Students, and on the advisory board for the Global Urban History Project.


    Recent Publications


    The projects below are those completed since 2010. For a full overview, see


    Books and Editions

    Urban Infrastructure: Historical and Social Dimensions of an Interconnected World.  Co-edited with Jonathan Soffer and Rae Zimmerman.  Forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021.

    Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis, 1900-1930. Co-authored with Angela Dietz. Missouri Historical Society and the University of Chicago Press, 2016.

    Special issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association on the 75th Anniversary of Public Housing. Guest Editor. Fall 2012.    


    Published Visual Work: Photographs, photographic essays, collage, maps, drawings

    "A Street in Bratislava." Photographic essay, Platform magazine, March 2020.

    "Syntopic Landscape: The Wholesale Supply Market at Oaxaca." Photographic essay, Platform magazine, 9 January 2020.

    "Urban Agendas: Beneath National Party Politics Lay Cities in Grave Distress." Platform magazine, 24 June 2019.

    "Shops at Night" and "Cyclist, North St. Louis." Two photographs featured in The Fourth River magazine, Nov 2018.

    "The Multicolored Street Markets of Mexico City."  Specially rendered satellite images featured in The Guardian, 15 October 2018.

    "Shops at Night, Jackson Heights."  Photograph.  Packinghouse Review 12 (Fall 2018).

    "Chairs, Brooklyn." Photograph selected for the cover of Blue Mesa Review 37 (Fall 2018).  

    "What's In a Roofline? Architectural Memory in the Heart of New York." Photographic essay in Urban Omnibus: The Journal of the Architectural League of New York. Dec 2017.

    "Cooking for Democracy." Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 17, 3 (Fall 2017).

    "Urban Data Streams: Selections from the Façade Project." Photographs. Domus (Mar 2017). Reposted under title "The Facade Project: Joseph Heathcott Captures Colorful Facades Around The World." Photogrist Magazine, Apr 2017.

    Three pieces published in Ethnography in an Expanded Field, web project by the Graduate Institute of Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought: "Crosswalk, Fabourg St-Antoine"; "100 Objects"; and "Archive of Dying in Union County, 1921." (Feb 2016).

    "Rumors of a New City."  Collage.  Bad Penny Review (April 2015).

    "Vendors, Mombasa, 1995."  Photograph.  Chaffey Review VIII (Spring 2015).

    "Boundary Worlds: Traveling the Brooklyn-Queens Border." Photographic and documentary essay in Urban Omnibus: The Journal of the Architectural League of New York, 15 January 2015.

    "Skin flâneur."  100 Word Story.  Fall 2013.

    "Morning in the Casbah, Marrakech, 2010."  34th Parallel (October 2013).

    "Loot."  Graphic appropriation.  Dark Matter 11 (Fall 2013).

    "Setting Table in Old Stone Town, Zanzibar." Photographic essay in The Inquisitive Eater (June 2013).

    "The Archival Uncanny: A Photograph, A Family Lacunae." Rhizomes 23. Special issue on 'Deleuze and Photography.' (March 2012).

    "Six Miles from Wall Street." Collage of prepared found materials. Bosphorous Art Project Quarterly (Spring 2011).

    "One Night in Belleville, Paris, 2011." Photographic essay for XCP Streetnotes 19. Special issue on "The New Europe" (June 2011).

    "Surface Moments, Marrakech." Photographic essay for Camera Obscura 18 (March 2011).

    "Sacred to the Memory." Worked photograph. Bosphorous Art Project Quarterly (Winter 2010).

    "When Angels Held Fast."  Worked photograph.  5 x 5 magazine (Winter 2011).

    "The Urban Oblique."  Photographic series, Folly magazine (November 2011).    


    Exhibits, Juried Shows, and Curatorial Work

    "After the Fire, Roses." Photograph for juried group show, Core New Art Space, Denver, CO, May-June 2018.

    "Colonia Federal, Mexico City." Photograph for juried group show, Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY, May-Jun 2018.

    "Buy, Sell, Trade." Photograph for juried group show, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO, Sept-Nov 2017.

    "Santa Katarina at Night, 2017" and "Street Scene, Chinatown, 2016." Two photographs for juried group show Being Sentient, Sentient Being, Allegheny Arts Council, Cumberland, MD, Sept-Oct 2017.

    "Crosswalk, Faubourg St-Antoine." Rendered photograph for juried group show, Art League of Rhode Island, Providence, RI, Sept-Oct 2016.

    "Whose River Is It?" Large agit-prop poster (high resolution aerial imagery with text) for juried group show "Landscapes: A Sense of Place" at Site:Brooklyn, May-Jul 2016.

    "Goblins in the Industrial City."  Worked photograph for juried group show, The Studio Door Gallery, San Diego, CA.  May-July 2015.

    "Urban Typefaces."  Photograph for juried group show, Oceana Gallery, San Francisco, CA.  Nov-Dec 2013.

    "Borderlands."  Installation of photographs and archival maps detailing the Brooklyn-Queens border landscapes, prepared for the reopening of the Queens Museum of Art.  Nov 2013-Jan 2014.

    "Joseph Heathcott Collection of Counterculture Publications, 1971-2000."  Collection built between 1985-2000, subsequently organized and donated to the Archives and Manuscripts Department of the Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections.  Available to the public as of 2012.

    "Post-Acropolis." Five photographers document the Midwest metropolitan landscape, with work by Michael Allen, Toby Weiss, Robert Powers, Clare Boyd, and John Montre. Curator. City Hall Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany, May-June 2010.


    Articles, Essays, Chapters

    "Landscape Entanglements: Toward a New Descriptive Project in Spatial Theory." Article co-authored with Kevin Rogan, Berkeley Planning Journal 31 (2020).

    "Living in the Diagram: Colonia Federal and Urban Planning in Twentieth Century Mexico City." Published online in the Journal of Urbanism, 31 May 2020.  Print version scheduled for December 2020.

    "Architecture, Urban Form, and Assemblage Aesthetics in Mexico City's Street Markets." International Journal of Architectural Research 13, 1 (Mar 2019).

    "Geometries of Corn and Blood." In Dominic Pettman, ed. Dispatches from the Institute of Incoherent Geography. (Pittsburgh and New York: Flugschriften, 2019).

    "Mexico City Morphologies." Streetnotes 26 (2019), special issue on The View From Above.

    "What's In a Roofline? Architectural Memory in the Heart of Queens."  Urban Omnibus: The Journal of the Architectural League of New York.  Dec 2017.

    "Public Housing as a Tool of Racial Segregation."  In Daniel D'Oca and Tobias Armborst, The Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion (Barcelona: Actar Press, 2015).

    "Creative Approaches to Public Space." In Yvonne Franz and Christiane Hintermann, eds., Understanding Public Spaces (University of Vienna Press, 2017).

    "Janet Abu-Lughod." In Regan Koch and Alan Latham, eds., Key Thinkers on Cities (Forthcoming from Sage Press, 2017).

    "Race, Class, and American City Planning." Essay for Black Lives Matter, a web-based resource project by the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborate, edited by Meredith TenHoor and Jonathan Massey.

    "The Bold and the Bland: Art, Redevelopment, and the Creative Commons in Post-Industrial New York." City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action 19, 1 (2015).

    "The World in a Cup: Coffee, from Kitchen Table to World Stage." The Montreal Review.  January 2015.

    "Myth No. 1: Public Housing Stands Alone." Chapter in Nicholas Bloom, Fritz Umbach, and Lawrence Vale, eds., Public Housing Myths: Perception, Reality, and Social Policy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015).

    "A Library, A City." Meridian. Winter 2014.

    "The Science and Art of City-Making: The Model Street at the 1904 World's Fair." In Robert Freestone and Marco Amati, eds., Exhibitions and the Development of Modern Planning Culture (London: Ashgate Press, 2014).

    "The Historic Urban Landscape of the Swahili Coast: New Frameworks for Conservation." In World Heritage Papers Series No. 36: Swahili Historic Urban Landscapes (Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Center, 2013).

    "The Promenade Plantée: Politics, Planning, and Urban Design in Post-Industrial Paris." Journal of Planning Education and Research 33, 2 (2013).

    "Heritage in the Dynamic City: The Politics and Practice of Conservation on the Swahili Coast." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (Fall 2012 on line, Winter 2013 in print).

    "Ephemeral City: Design and Civic Meaning at the 1904 World's Fair." Journal of Design History (published online 2012, in print 2013).

    "Dust and Design: The Architecture of the Farm Security Administration Migrant Camps, 1937 - 1942." Special issue of Onsite Review on "Architecture and Dirt," (Fall 2011).

    "In the Nature of a Clinic: The Design of Early Public Housing." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 70, 1 (March 2011).

    "Through a City, Darkly." Catalogue essay for In Light: An Exhibition of Photographs by Chris Wainwright. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini, 2011.

    "One New Year's Eve in a Dying City." Antioch Review 69, 2 (Spring 2011).

    "Infrastructure 2.0: A Stimulus Package for All of Us." National Civic Review 98, 2 (Summer 2010).    


    Performances and Appearances


    Invited Presentations

    Istanbul Research Institute; Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; ETH-Zurich School of Architecture; NYC Department of Design and Construction Monthly Speaker Series; University of Vienna; Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Mexico; Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon; Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University; Princeton University; Harvard Graduate School of Design; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Iowa; University of Amsterdam; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Yale University School of Architecture; Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University; Museum of the City of New York; Fitch Colloquium, Columbia University; University of the Arts, London; Benjamin Franklin House; Glasgow School of Art, Scotland; Photography Research Institute, Central St. Martin's College of Art, London; Chelsea College of Art and Design, London; Trinity College, Dublin; Deutsche-Amerikanische-Zentrum, Stuttgart, Germany; University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research; College of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago; College of Architecture, University of Texas-Austin; Loyola University at Chicago;  George Washington University; Royal Library, Brussels, Belgium; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Historical Society; Institut Charles V, Université de Paris VII; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago Historical Society, Urban History Speaker Series.  

    Studio reviews, organized tours, and master classes

    Urban Design studio, Yale University; Walking tour of Jackson Heights for Princeton students; Graduate student workshop, University of Iowa; Walking tour in Queens for London School of Economics group; Urban Design studio, Parsons; Housing studio, Parsons; City Design studio, London School of Economics; MS in Historic Preservation studio, Columbia University; Walking tour series for the Municipal Arts Society; Master class, Ph.D. in Art, London College of Communication; Master class, Ph.D. Cities, London School of Economics; Master class, MA Curatorial Studies and MA in Art Theory, Chelsea College of Art and Design; Studio for work in progress, South London Gallery; Master class, Ph.D. in Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design; Master class MFA in Arts Research, Wimbledon College of Art; Master of Urban Design studio, Washington University School of Architecture; Housing studio, Washington University School of Architecture; Master of Landscape Architecture studio review, Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University; Master of Urban Design studio, Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University; Visual Studies studio, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; MArch studio, Washington University School of Architecture.   


    Research Interests


    Main Areas of Study


    Cities real and imagined; architectural history, theory, and criticism in the twentieth century; metropolitan and community studies; race, class, and urban planning; cities as living archives of creativity, urbanity, and design.

    Works in Progress

    Life in the Rust Archipelago: Natural and Human Ecologies after Abandonment.  Gerda Henkel Foundation funded project in progress.
    Worlding Heritage: Historic Urban Landscapes and the Conservation Imaginary. Series of essays in progress.
    Aerial States: Imaging the Megacity. Ongoing documentary fieldwork and photography project.
    Crucibles of the Next City: Hyperdiversity and Negotiation in the New Cosmopolis. Long-term documentary photography project.


    Awards And Honors


    Gerda Henkel Foundation Grant; Grant from the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative, MIT; Research Grant, Zolberg Institute for Migration Studies, The New School Mellon Distinguished Fellowship, School of Architecture, Princeton University; Visiting Faculty, University of Vienna, Urban Studies Graduate Summer Institute; Visiting Faculty, Lisbon Consortium, Doctoral Program in Cultural Studies U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair for the United Kingdom U.S. Fulbright Senior Specialist Award SAGES Visiting Faculty Fellow, Case Western Reserve University (declined) John Nichols Brown Center for the Humanities Visiting Fellowship American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship Catherine Wurster Prize, Society for American City and Regional Planning History International Initiative Grant, American Studies Association, Washington, DC Erasmus Institute / NEH Faculty Fellowship (declined) Missouri Historical Society Research-in-Residence Fellowship The John H. Edwards Fellowship  

    Current Courses

    Dynamic Metropolis
    ULEC 2620, Fall 2021

    Thesis Supervision
    NMDS 5960, Fall 2021

    Future Courses

    Independent Senior Project
    LHIS 4990, Spring 2022

    Sensing the City
    UURB 4010, Spring 2022

    Sensing the City
    UENV 4010, Spring 2022

    Thesis Supervision
    NMDS 5960, Spring 2022

    Past Courses

    Independent Senior Project
    LHIS 4990, Spring 2021

    Planning Sustainable Cities
    UURB 3001, Spring 2021

    Urban Informality Global Persp
    UURB 4039, Spring 2021

    Urban Informality Global Persp
    NURP 5039, Spring 2021

    Urban Worlds
    UURB 2100, Spring 2021

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