Robert Campbell: Do Cities Need Designers?

Professional Planning Colloquium

Robert Campbell is a writer and architect. In 1996 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his work as architecture critic of the Boston Globe. He has published more than 100 feature articles in national periodicals and writes a regular column for the magazine Architectural Record. His poems have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Harvard Review, and elsewhere, and his photographs in numerous publications.

Campbell has been in private practice as an architect since 1975, chiefly as a consultant for the improvement or expansion of cultural institutions, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (since 1983). He has been an urban design consultant to cities and is an advisor to the Mayors Institute for City Design, which he helped to found. He has received the AIA’s Medal for Criticism; the Commonwealth Award of the Boston Society of Architects; a Design Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; and grants from the Graham Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund. He was the 2004 recipient of the Award of Honor of the Boston Society of Architects “in recognition of outstanding contributions to architecture and to the profession.” He has served as a juror in several national design competitions, is a former Regent of the American Architectural Foundation, and since 1994 has been a member of the GSA’s National Register of Peer Professionals.

He is a graduate of Harvard, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he received the Appleton Traveling Fellowship and Francis Kelley Prize. Campbell has lectured at more than 40 colleges and universities; has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Boston Architectural Center, and the University of North Carolina; and is a former visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1993-2002 he was Visiting Sam Gibbons Eminent Scholar in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of South Florida, and in 2002 he was Max Fisher Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan. In 2003 he was a senior fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University. He lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


This lecture is in honor of Roger Trancik, who retired after 38 years of teaching and was appointed professor emeritus.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of City and Regional Planning, the Department of Landscape Architecture and the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.