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CITE: The New Periphery
Register/Submit: Friday, August 16, 2013

CITE:   The New Periphery
Special Issue Call for Submissions
Submission Deadline:  August 15, 2013
website: www.citemag.org

Historically, suburban life has represented the American Dream, the physical manifestation of opportunity and prosperity expressed in an autonomous built environment based on the single-family house, private yard, two-car garage, and nuclear family. Often “blamed” on the largesse of the federal government’s highway program, big business conspiracies, or even on the nature of capitalism, the suburbs are where most Americans live and where contemporary designers, planners, artists, and critics are just beginning—again—to do some real work.  More than forty years after Herbert Gans’s seminal work The Levittowners suggested that suburbia was more than a culturally moribund and homogeneous domestic utopia, the suburbs are re-emerging as an embattled site of critique—less now for suspicions of isolation, homogeneity, and gender inequity—and more for their new and overwhelmingly diverse “urban” attributes.  While strong undercurrents of class, race, and cultural segregation continue to remain relevant--a barrage of diversified, complex, reinvented, re-appropriated, and hybridized opportunities are emerging in this new periphery.

Shifting from the utopian suburban ideal toward the contemporary heterotopian reality—the physical buildings remain unchanged, yet simultaneously, the meaning, function, and socio-economic context of the built environment has been radically transformed.  The single-family detached house is now home to new social configurations, the least of which is the traditional nuclear family. Garden apartments built in the 1970s are caught within the current cycle of disinvestment and have become new, de facto “projects”.  Across North America--the strip mall, once housing the typical franchises of established middle-class homogeneity, is now home to foreign remittance centers, ethnic grocers, charter schools, and discotecas. Big box retail and shopping malls, the epitome of conventional consumption, are shuttering their doors in response to changing demographics of the suburban marketplace and reinventing themselves to become part of the urban realm. Within this changing landscape, civic and public spaces remain both transitional and illusive.

Apart from these transformations, suburbia continues to be stereotyped as the site of conformity and middle-class homogeneity.  As gentrification reverses the flight toward the “inner city” and poverty, density and diversity in turn define the periphery, how does this change our cities and the potentials of the people who live in them?

The Spring 2014 special issue of Cite entitled “The New Periphery” seeks submissions from educators and practitioners across disciplinary fields that critically examine contemporary issues in suburbia and the emerging relationship between the city center and its periphery.  Submissions should focus on the appropriation and transformation of conventional suburban space and forms. We seek provocative work that is equally accessible to both a sophisticated public audience and our professional and academic peers. Submissions should address one of the following categories:

  1. Speculative design work that identifies new ways of accommodating and responding to change in the suburban landscape.
  2. New forms of analysis that reveal the scale and impact of the demographic transformation of the periphery.
  3. Design and/or documentation of specific and concrete adaptations to the existing built infrastructure of the periphery that have been fueled by changing demographics—particularly the big box, strip shopping center, mall, multi-family housing complex.

Submission Guidelines
Submissions should be no more than 1500 words and reference the larger lessons or impact of the chosen topic, and include a maximum of 8 graphic images, for example maps, drawings, graphs, and charts.  Submissions should include text and graphics and be in .pdf form, with a cover sheet with the author’s name, title, contact information, and affiliation, any identifying text should be removed from the article.  JPEG images should be placed into a separate zipped folder.  Submissions should not exceed 10 megabytes and are due August 15, 2013 at 5 p.m. (CST) by email to mankad@rice.edu.  Sources should be embedded in the text where possible, and footnotes used only when necessary.  The majority of Cite readers are not part of academia or the architecture profession, and contributions should be oriented to a broad audience of civic-minded people who want to see and read insightful work.

Selection Process
Submissions will be blind-peer reviewed for this special issue of Cite. Submission does not guarantee inclusion in the publication.  Authors will be notified after September 1, 2013.

Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston is a quarterly publication of the Rice Design Alliance.  Continuously published since 1982, the journal mixes an appreciation of high design with bottom-up civic engagement. Visit citemag.org to learn more.

Theme Issue Guest Editors

  • Susan Rogers, Assistant Professor and Director of the Community Design Resource Center
    Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston
  • Gregory Marinic, Assistant Professor and Director of Interior Architecture
    Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, University of Houston
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