Urban Theorist William J. Mitchell, R.I.P.

William J. Mitchell, dean of the school of architecture and planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died last week. He was a pioneer in the use of computers for design and planning.

In the 1970s, Mitchell wrote a seminal book on the use of computers in architecture titled Computer-Aided Architectural Design.

M.I.T. professor George Stiny is quoted in the NY Times: "If he hadn't been there to inaugurate computer-aided architectural design, architects would probably still not be doing it. Remember, in 1977 it was hard to draw a line on a computer. Bill really had a sense of how much architects could take, gave them a little more, and made it possible for them to take the next step."

More recently, Mitchell was involved in the development of designs for stackable cars and scooters that could change the way people think of personal transportation.

A more personal recollection of Mitchell can be read here, from Planetizen contributor Anthony Townsend, a former student of Mitchell's.

Full Story: William J. Mitchell, Architect and Urban Visionary, Dies at 65


Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.