Vishaan ChakrabartiUrbanist Vishaan Chakrabarti has written a new book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America where he argues that density in urban, suburban, and rural areas leads to greater prosperity and a more effective way of life. He also touches on the problems of the American landscape being the result of government social engineering and subsidies, not a creation of the free market as is often the common misconception. This is a topic that I touched on in April of 2012 in Cities and Free Markets: The Manufactured American Dream, and I’m glad to see the conversation is still being carried. Chakabarti says that we can un-do all the landscape problems we have caused over the past 50 years in the next 50 years.

This short, edited video from the Architectural League of New York was shot in June of 2013. Here’s a look at the vimeo description:

In this edited version of his June 17, 2013 lecture, Vishaan Chakrabarti lays out the background and argument of his new book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America. His thesis is that well-designed cities are the key to solving America’s great national challenges: environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption, economic stagnation, rising public health costs, and decreased social mobility.

Chakrabarti, an architect, urbanist, author, and professor of real estate development, gives a brief history of what he refers to as the “subsidy regime” in the United States–from transportation to energy to housing–explaining the profound effects these policies have had on the way we build. Chakrabarti also offers his ideas for addressing our country’s seemingly most intractable problems, ideas that hinge upon his definition of the “high-low city:” a hyper-dense mix of up and downzoned neighborhoods, that can provide affordable and enjoyable cities served by modes of rail-based transit.

Watch the video to learn more about Chakrabarti’s thesis and achieving “civic delight” in our 21st-century cities.

So check out the video and check out the book as well on