About The Fox and the City and the Author

Blair Lorenzo at the Manhattan Bridge

Blair Lorenzo is a world-renowned urban theorist, whose writings are both widely read and highly influent... wait, what do you mean this thing has to be accurate!? Bah!

Blair Lorenzo has been studying cities and what makes them work for most of her adult life. She describes her approach to cities as, “urbanism qua urbanism,” that is, the study of the city as an entity unto itself. It is a quest to understand cities: how and why they function—or fail to function—, how they came into their present physical forms, and how those forms in turn affect the lives and capacities of those cities and their inhabitants—all with an eye towards utilizing these understandings to help make cities more livable, successful, and urban places. In particular, she is dedicated to creating a more complete understanding of the urban—the physical, economic, and social characteristics of certain places which engenders much of the vibrancy, humanity, and socioeconomic power that cities can possess.

This website (introduction) is a part of Blair’s ongoing love of cities and quest for understanding urbanity; a place for her to share her writings, ideas, and musings, to refine her ideas, and ultimately, to contribute to the human project of understanding the spaces in which we live.

Blair completed her undergraduate degree at New York University’s Gallatin School. There, she designed an independent and unique course of study, concentrating on urban theory, urban history, and the philosophy of urbanity, with a particular focus on the social, spatial, and cultural impacts of transportation. Following that, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Theories of Urban Practice from the New School’s Parsons School of Design. This new, unique, research-driven program seeks to develop new understandings of what cities are, how, why, and for whom they work, and how theory and practice can be brought together to affect positive change. A part of the initial cohort of students, Blair took an active role in shaping the direction and content of the program, helping to define and refine both its focus and meaning. Her thesis, The Washington Metro and the Fall and Rise of American Urbanity (excerpt), is emblematic of her interdisciplinary work on cities and the urban. Utilizing the conception, design, and construction of America’s second largest subway system as a lens, she puts the Metro project in context as part of a major shift in the long arc of American urban history, by analyzing the shifting political actors and debates which constituted its creation, investigating the effects its construction has had on the greater Washington area, and most importantly, explaining its unsung role in the rise of an American appreciation of urban form.

Over the course of her academic career, Blair has slowly been composing a book on the history of the American city. By investigating different eras of transportation technology and their concomitant cultural forces, it attempts to lay out how and why American cities have taken their particular urban and non-urban forms, while also investigating the theories of urbanity, the methods of planning, and the sociocultural developments each era has engendered.

Finally, Blair also has a professional background in computers, IT, and web design, and counts amongst her hobbies a love of reading, learning, getting lost on Wikipedia, and drawing. She also loves subways and foxes, and her personal website can be found at http://www.subwayfox.net/.