• CriticalProductive V2.1: Post-Capitalist City? and CriticalProductive V3.1: Curating Identity, Curating Space
    Milton S. F. Curry

SUPERFLEX, Flooded McDonald's, Detail, film (RED 16:9), 21 minutes, Edition of 5, 2009. Courtesy of Peter Blum Gallery, New York.

CriticalProductive V2.1 explores the opportunities and implications of the global economic crisis and changing markets on the next generation of architects and designers. Articles consider how current methods of urban design, real estate development, and spatial consumption are placing social capital over economic capital to catalyze new protocols of urban development. CriticalProductive V3.1 interrogates curatorial and exhibition practices on the issues of architecture/urbanism and identity theory through a symposium and publication by engaging a diverse group of curators, museum directors, and academics to explore the problems and opportunities of utilizing the exhibition format to expand the public imagination on issues of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, and the expanded site of architectural thinking on urban revitalization.

As a creative designer, Milton S. F. Curry explores the themes and intersections of race and cultural studies, architecture and urbanism, and contemporary art. In his roles as design principal of his own design firm, associate dean at the University of Michigan, former director of the Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) (2002–08) and professor of architecture at Cornell University (1995–2010), he has maintained a critical voice in the discipline and is one of its most influential thinkers on issues of culture, race, and class. As CCA director, he oversaw over $900,000 of funding. His curatorial works (including Patrick Dougherty: Half a Dozen of the Other, Cornell University, 2006; and CCA Cornell XDesign Group’s exhibit at ICFF New York), design works (NegroCity Housing/Harlem Target at Studio Museum in Harlem, 2004; and Def Jam Studios Proposal, 1996), writings ( "Nixon in China" and "What President Obama can Learn from Brazil" in the Huffington Post, 2011; "Racial Critique of Public Housing" in 1993), and editing projects (CriticalProductive Journal, and Appendx Journal 1993–99) demonstrate his commitment to intellectual rigor and the repositioning of architecture as a social art.

Hansy Better, associate professor of architecture at RISD and principal of Studio Luz Architects, focuses on socially responsible design methods in her research, curriculum, technique, and professional work, such as in the Big Hammock Project, sponsored by the Awesome Foundation, which engaged the Boston community and brought people together. Her firm Studio Luz integrates social initiatives with sustainable construction methods, earning them publication in Architectural Record, Metropolis, and ARCHITECT magazine. As cofounder of the non-profit BR-A-CE: Building Research- Architecture-Community Exchange, she has demonstrated her commitment to addressing and engaging social, economic, and cultural conditions in design.

Richard T. Ford, the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, is the author of The Race Card (2007). Ford has established himself as a leading lecturer and theorist in the realms of anti-discrimination law, civil rights and race relations, local government law, urban issues, housing law, and democratic theory and institutions. His research and discourse explore and adopt themes from critical race theory, cultural geography, and architectural/ urban theories. His recent book (the result of a 2010 Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship) is Rights Gone Wrong: Rescuing Social Justice from the Law.

Peter Gilgen, associate professor of German studies at Cornell University, specializes in eighteenth- to twentieth-century German and European philosophy, literature, and culture, as well as German idealism, aesthetics, ethics, poetry, and philosophy. Widely published in both English and German, Gilgen is an expert on G. W. F. Hegel's philosophical writings and an experienced translator of academic works in German, French, and English. He is currently working on publications concerning the philosophy of history according to Kant, the history of second-order observation, and Wittgenstein.

Funa Maduka's interests and expertise are in educational management, philanthropy, non-profits, non-governmental organization initiatives, investment banking, global finance, and third-world health care. Her endeavors in and advocacy on racial and women's issues during her time at Cornell University earned her the James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial Harmony and Understanding (2004). Following graduation from Cornell University in 2004, Maduka worked as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs, a regional analyst for the William J. Clinton Foundation’s HIV/ AIDS Initiative in the Caribbean, and as a program manager for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, where she developed and managed the new school.

Shawn Rickenbacker, principal of Rickenbacker + Leung LLC (R + L), has garnered multiple fellowships and awards supporting his work and research. In 2008, while a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture, he received a studio travel and research grant for a health initiative, in partnership with the Mercury Phoenix Foundation, in South Africa. Rickenbacker has worked with such firms as Ennead Architects; Ehrankrantz, Eckstut and Kuhn; and Agrest + Gandelsonas. He is a founding principal at R+L and a project architect for Lifeform Ltd., a multidisciplinary firm that addresses urban and rural contexts and their associated economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions and concerns.

Richard M. Sommer, dean and professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of Toronto, was former director of the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Urban Design Program and scholar-in-residence at the California College of the Arts. He has been published in CriticalProductive, Perspecta, ANY magazine, and Shaping the City: Studies in History and Ecological Urbanism. He has received research grants from organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tozzier Fund, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, as well as the Wheelwright Fellowship. Sommer is an architect and theorist, focused on trends in urbanization, and continues to work on his long-term research endeavor The Democratic Monument in America: A Twentieth Century Topography.

Hortense Spillers, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor in English at Vanderbilt University, works on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American fiction and African American literature, with an emphasis on the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary discourse, as well as black feminist theory, issues, and criticism. Spillers's influence on African American studies and literary criticism spans more than thirty years. During this time, she has received numerous awards, honors, and grants from organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the Ford Foundation. Most recently, she was invited to be the 2011 W. E. B. Du Bois lecturer at Harvard University.

Andrew Zago, principal at Zago Architecture, has worked for AKS RUNO, Shirdel Zago Kipnis, and Morphosis Architects. Throughout his career, he has integrated art, architecture, and urbanism to produce designs reflective of their social context. Zago's designs and works have been widely published. Zago Architecture was one of five architectural firms chosen to exhibit commissioned work in the 2012 Museum of Modern Art’s Foreclosed: Re-Housing the American Dream exhibition. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Rome and has received an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and a fellowship grant from the United States Artists’ Organization.

Founded in 2008, CriticalProductive, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing theoretical inquiry and public discourse in the areas of architecture, urbanism, design, visual arts, cultural criticism, race and ethnic studies, and political theory.  Through publications, symposia, exhibitions, and media, CriticalProductive, Inc. shares work, scholarship, and commentary with a diverse audience. CriticalProductive, the journal, is an independent, biannual, double-blind, peer-reviewed academic journal of architecture, urbanism, and cultural theory that covers progress, scholarship, and design work on the city, processes and economies of urbanization, and the cultural issues that impact the representation and consumption of urbanity.