Manifest: A Journal of American Architecture and Urbanism is an independent annual print publication edited by Anthony Acciavatti, Justin Fowler, and Dan Handel. Founded as a means to initiate a critical conversation about the state of American architecture, its cities, and its hinterland, Manifest tackles head-on what others have abandoned. While Manifest intends to question the assumptions behind singular notions/constructions of America by tracing its origins and its global influence, the journal also strives to define the uniqueness of American forms of city-building and the distinct set of political parameters through which these forms are shaped.
At a moment when the triumph of liberalism seems both assured and under perpetual threat from those who approach the urban solely in terms of productivity, we see political value in scholarship that treats America as an ongoing project whose tenets are neither sacrosanct nor worthy of being discarded. Following Michael Walzer, we point to the radical unfinishedness of America as one of its distinctive features. Working critically from within, our project is one of analysis and renewal, taking seriously the struggles embodied in urbanism, while not shying away from the need to make political assertions and claims regarding positive ways to move forward. America’s transformation into a key knowledge hub of the post-Fordist economy has fueled both immense opportunity and disparity. The ‘American Dream’ and, by extension, the American middle class, hangs in the balance. The future of industrial cities spread thin across the landscape remains uncertain as the requisite skill set for human capital has advanced beyond the adaptive capacity of so many of those most in need of work. With neo-liberalism having failed to deliver a prosperity within which the good life as a realizable choice trumps everyday necessity as the driver of human creativity and innovation, the dual American imperatives of individualism and pragmatism must now be channeled into a different direction. Built form has the potential both to articulate these tensions and to re-scale the urban environment to adapt to our emerging reality. The pages of Manifest will establish how we arrived at this point and to construct narratives of alternative futures.
editors [at] manifestproject [dot] org