Heathcott, Joseph


Joseph Heathcott

PhD, American Studies and History, Indiana University

MA, History, Indiana University

BA, History and Political Thought, Washington University


Associate Professor of Urban Studies

Prof. Heathcott studies the American metropolis and its diverse cultures, institutions, and environments within a comparative and global perspective. His main interest is in the public role of scholarship and teaching, and the civic engagement of students and teachers in the world around them.  He is also a compulsive peripatetic, amateur archivist, and collector of LPs, post cards, old radios, books, and found objects. 
During the academic year 2010-2011, Prof. Heathcott 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.  His articles, photographs, maps, drawings, and exhibits have 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 to a book currently nearing completion with University of Chicago Press.  Most recently, his photography exhibit Post-Acropolis Metropolis was installed at the Town Hall Gallery in Stuttgart, Germany. 
Prof. Heathcott has been awarded fellowships from U.S. Fulbright, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Erasmus Institute, the Mellon Foundation, and the Brown Center for the Humanities.  He has been invited to lecture, consult, and judge design reviews in a wide variety of venues both in the U.S. and internationally.  Currently he serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and frequently volunteers his time with neighborhood groups and community organizations around issues of planning, preservation, and urban design.
Courses Taught:
Courses Taught: 
The Everyday City
Urban Economies
Dynamic Metropolis
Historic Preservation: Time, Space, and Design
Senior Seminar in Urban Studies
Archive: The Design of Knowledge
Recent Publications:
"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). 
"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. 
"Surface Moments, Marrakech."  Photographic essay for Camera Obscura 18 (March 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).
"Sacred to the Memory."  Worked photograph.  Bosphorous Art Project Quarterly (Winter 2010).
"Cognitive Map of Rosedale." Drawing.  On Site Magazine (Summer 2009).
"Post-Industrial Urbanism as an Archival Project: The Work of the Building Arts Foundation." With Pamela Ambrose. Art Documentation 28, 1 (2009).
"Block Signs." Photographic essay with Damon Rich.  In Public Phenomena, ed. Temporary Services.  Chicago: Half Letter Press, 2008.
"The City Quietly Remade: National Priorities and Local Agendas in the Movement to Clear the Slums." Special issue of the Journal of Urban History 34, 2 (January 2008).
"The Street as a Transnational Space." On Site: Journal of Architecture and Culture 19, special issue on "Streets," Summer 2008.
"Reading the Accidental Archive: Architecture, Ephemera, and Landscape as Evidence of Urban Public Culture." Winterthur Portfolio 41, 2 (December 2007).
"Making Preservation Pay: Historic Tax Credits Generate Big Investment.  So Why Ruin a Good Thing?" Progressive Planning 172 (Fall 2007).
"The Value of Architecture: Bruce Lindsey Brings the Lessons of the Rural Studio to the Metropolis." Metropolis magazine, May 2007. 
"Score One for Modernism." Planning 72, 11 (December 2006).
"The Century Building Debacle and the Future of Historic Preservation." The Next American City (October 2006).
"Curating the City: Challenges for Historic Preservation in the Twenty-First Century." Review essay commissioned by the Journal of Planning History 5, 1 (Winter 2006).
"'The Whole City is Our Laboratory': Harland Bartholomew and the Production of Urban Knowledge." Journal of Planning History 4, 4 (November 2005).
"Modeling the Urban Future: Maps, Charts, and the Fantasy of Postwar Growth." Planning Perspectives 20, 4 (October 2005).
"Urban Activism in a Downsizing World: Neighborhood Organizing in Post-Industrial Chicago." City and Community 4, 3 (Fall 2005).
"Black Archipelago: Politics and Civic Life in the Jim Crow City." Journal of Social History 38, 3 (March 2005).
"Corridors of Flight, Zones of Renewal: Planning and Policy in the Making of Metropolitan St. Louis, 1940-1980." With Maire Agnes Murphy. Journal of Urban History 31, 2 (January 2005).  Winner of the Catherine Bauer Wurster prize.
"The City's Curator: An Interview with Larry Giles." With Pamela Ambrose, in Brick by Brick: Building St. Louis and the Nation. An Exhibit Catalogue.  St. Louis: Samuel Cupples House, 2004.
"Looking for the Routes of Ska Music: Urban Spaces and Working Class Expressions across the Black Atlantic." Radical History Review 87 (Fall 2003).   
"Steeples and Lines of Sight: Religion, Place, and Change in an Urban Neighborhood." In Hans Krabbendam and Derek Rubin, eds., Religion in America. European and American Contributions to American Studies (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2003).
Work in Progress:
"sonic/tech/tonic." Compact Disc and MP3 File in development for inclusion in a special issue of On Site Review on "Architecture and Sound."  To be released in Summer 2012.
"Documerica: A Retrospective of the Environmental Protection Agency Photography Project, 1972-1977."  Curator.  Exhibit and catalogue currently under development.
The Projects and the People: Public Housing in the Life of an American City (Manuscript in progress with University of Chicago Press).
Guest editor for special issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association on the 75th Anniversary of Public Housing.  In progress for release in Fall 2012.
Office Location:
The New School for Public Engagement
66 W 12th Street Room 401B
New York, NY 10011
Office Hours:
By Appointment.
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5119, ext 2984


Research Interests:

Cities real and imagined; architectural history, theory, and criticism in the twentieth century; metropolitan and community studies; civic and public cultures; cities as living archives of creativity, urbanity, and design


Recent Presentations/Exhibits:
Chelsea College of Art and Design, London
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland
Urban Design Group, University of London
Photography Research Institute, Central St. Martin's College of Art, London
Research Centre on Transnational Arts, Identities, and Nations, London
Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Deutsche-Amerikanische-Zentrum, Stuttgart, Germany
University of Maastricht, The Netherlands 
University of Maryland
Columbia University Urban History Seminar
School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
University of Pennsylvania, Institute of Urban Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Royal Library, Brussels, Belgium
College of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Paris VII
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

< back