Sorkin, Michael

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SORKIN, MICHAEL (1948– ), U.S. urbanist and architectural critic. Sorkin received his training at Harvard and mit. For seven years he wrote for the Village Voice, a New York newspaper, and later became director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at the City College of New York. From 1993 to 2000 he was professor of urbanism and director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He taught at numerous schools, including Cooper Union, Columbia, Yale (holding both the Davenport and Bishop Chairs), Harvard, Cornell (Gensler Chair), Nebraska (Hyde Chair), Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Minnesota. Sorkin is the principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio in New York City. This small firm specializes in urban designs both practical and theoretical and does not wait for clients to come with their requests but takes the lead in tackling projects that are sometimes visionary, such as planning for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. This project was an outgrowth of a conference he organized "to bring Palestinian, Israeli, and other architects and urbanists together to discus the future of the city in physical terms, via the medium of a design proposal. The assumption was that there were certain issues – the environment, neighborhood development, transportation, sprawl – that could be discussed outside the discourse of politics." Quickly, after the World Trade disaster in New York City, Sorkin, together with Sharon Zukin and 17 of New York's best urbanists studied the attack and its aftermath. They dealt with the history of neighborhood conflicts in New York and predicted many of the struggles between various interests that have rendered the rebuilding of the site problematic. In 2002 he edited Variations on a Theme Park, The Next Jerusalem: Sharing the Divided City, and After The World Trade Center: Rethinking New York City.

[Betty R. Rubenstein (2nd ed.)]