• Smooth Growth® Urban Design
    Marshall Brown

Marshall Brown Projects, Smooth Growth® model, detail.

Our nineteenth-century urban fabric must evolve for the twenty-first century. Despite national and regional growth in the United States, many inner-city populations remain constant or have declined over the past several decades. Even with its relatively stable economy, Chicago lost over 200,000 people during the last decennial census, while its metropolitan area continued to expand. To make matters more complex, these increases and losses are extremely varied across the metropolitan area. Thus, we must respond to dramatically uneven development—especially in neighborhoods losing population. Rather than continuing to accept infill and higher density development as the only solutions for revitalization, we need strategies that do not rely on increases in population density. Smooth Growth® is an innovative approach to urban design, which recognizes that urban environments can evolve structurally and formally to accommodate social and demographic changes over time.

Marshall Brown is an architect and urban designer who believes that the future is yet to be invented. His projects and essays have appeared in Metropolis, Architectural Record, the Architect's Newspaper, Art Papers, the Believer, and the New York Daily News. Brown has had solo exhibitions at Western Exhibitions and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Recent projects include the Smooth Growth® plan for Washington Park and the Center of the World: Proposals for the Chicago Circle Interchange. In 2011, Brown was a finalist in the Navy Pier redevelopment competition, and that same year he founded the urbanism, art, and culture think-tank NEW PROJECTS, in collaboration with curator Stephanie Smith. In addition to his practice, Brown is associate professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  He has been a MacDowell Fellow, and was the first Saarinen Architecture Fellow at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.