February 21, 2008
Matthew Stadler and Eric Garcetti will discuss the zwischenstadt, or, the in-between city, and the pleasures and problems an elected official and a novelist encounter when confronted with our contemporary urban condition. The term zwischenstadt, coined by German urban planner Thomas Sieverts in his book Cities Without Cities, was given to urban areas that no longer conform to the traditional notion of a city with a dense urban center and outlying suburbs.
Matthew Stadler writes, “I am trying to find better descriptions and better stories for the built environment I was born into. The old story of the concentric city (a dense center surrounded by rings of decreasing density, farms, and then wilderness) still causes considerable problems. It condemns us to live in a tragedy — the dissolution of the city. It’s a very expensive and discouraging story.”
Eric Garcetti is Los Angeles City Council President and a second-term council member serving the 13th Council District. Garcetti has shown that a commitment to the street-level health of the community is a necessary first step in creating positive change. His unique combination of pothole politics and vision has won measurable results in the 13th District, showing how local solutions can show the way to make our city safer, create transportation solutions, and ease the city’s housing crisis.
Matthew Stadler is the author of four novels, including Landscape: Memory, The Sex Offender, and Allan Stein. He got his B.A. in political theory at Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in fiction writing at Columbia University, and he studied epistemology in the philosophy program at the London School of Economics. Among many other prizes, he has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writers Award, the Hinda Rosenthal Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and, last year, a United States Artists Fellowship, for his fiction.