James S. Russell
James S. Russell is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News.
Contributed 6 posts
James S. Russell is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News, which reaches 260,000 professionals and 350 publications worldwide. Mr. Russell's commentaries also appear on the Bloomberg Muse website. He is a regular guest on Bloomberg radio and TV.
For 18 years Mr. Russell was an editor at Architectural Record magazine, the premier American journal for practicing architects, helping it to earn a National Magazine Award for General Excellence (2003) as well as numerous other industry awards.
His book, The Agile City: Building Well Being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change was published in 2011 by Island Press. It shows how America can rapidly meet climate-change goals by adapting buildings, communities and infrastructure. With global competition for resources growing, conserving energy and reweaving natural systems will become essential to economic well being.
He edited The Mayors' Institute: Excellence in City Design (Princeton Architectural Press) and has contributed to numerous books, magazines and newspapers.
Mr. Russell earned a Masters of Architecture degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design degree from the University of Washington. He also attended the Evergreen State College. He was born in Seattle. He is a registered architect and resides in New York City.
Island Urbanism: Teasing Out the Unique
<p>Whether kissed by trade winds in Hawaii, home to dozens of unique cultures in the Caribbean, or scoured by Nor’easter’s off the coast of Maine, islands are magnetic to burnt-out urbanites but tend to be tough places for natives. <br /><br />I was a guest not long ago of <a href="http://www.menis.es/flash_engl.swf" target="_blank">Fernando Menis</a>, an architect who has built an international reputation from Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. It’s not easy to be true to a unique place – as he aspires to be – when what works locally doesn’t always “translate” in the globalized and image-driven world of architecture. <br />
City of the Future: Houston?
<p>Thanks to Planetizen, I found <a href="http://www.joelkotkin.com/Urban_Affairs/GHP101_Greater_Houston_5_22_07_1007am.pdf" target="_blank">“Opportunity Urbanism,”</a> a report that posits Houston as “an emerging paradigm for the 21st century.” (There's a related op-ed <a href="http://www.planetizen.com/node/25284" target="_blank">here</a>.) The report, regrettably, is a manifesto as empty as the title -- which Kotkin clearly hopes will become a catchphrase. So why is it important? </p>
Madrid’s Alternate Suburban Universe
<p>Houston or Holland? The rapidly growing suburbs of Madrid uncomfortably (and instructively) amalgamate some of both. I was lucky to receive a recent tour from David Cohn, a long-time colleague and 20-year resident of Madrid; Sylvia Perea, a post-doctoral student and, until recently, an editor at the journal Arquitectura Viva, and Emilio Ontiveros, a young architect of the local Research Group on Social Housing. </p><p><img src="/files/u10275/DSC_0122_0.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="212" /> </p>
Hipness a Heavy Hitter in Philly's NoLI
<p>The corner café on North Second Street in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia aspires to Euro-style café culture though it lines a little-trafficked street of row houses showing every year of their century and a half of existence, and faces a vast empty, chain-linked block where a brewery once stood. <br /><img src="/files/u10275/DSC_0054.jpg" alt="" width="320" height="212" />
Who Pays for the Subprime Lender Meltdown?
<p>Scrambling to grab that elusive “American Dream” of homeownership, millions plunged into the subprime mortgage market to build wealth through appreciation (if not speculation). Pundits cheered as the ownership rate crept up, lauding the pluck of aspirational minority and immigrant families.</p><p>There’s a reason it is called subprime, though. Lenders offered a smorgasborg of loan “products,” but the bottom line was that they are all very costly for the borrower – often entailing adjustable-rate surprises in the 30 percent or higher range.</p>