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Patty Heyda

Patty Heyda (MArch II, Distinction, Harvard University) teaches advanced studios and seminars in the architecture and urban design programs at Washington University in St. Louis. She also collaborates across the humanities, including with the departments of anthropology, sociology, and urban history. She is affiliate faculty in the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity (CRE2) and holds a courtesy appointment in the American Culture Studies (AMCS) program. Heyda serves on the advisory board of The Divided City, a Mellon Foundation-funded humanities and design initiative, and governs the prestigious international James Harrison Steedman Memorial Fellowship in Architecture for the Sam Fox School.

Heyda studies American cities, politics, and design, with a focus on erasure urbanism, invisible\cities, uneven development, and racial, climate and social urgencies entangled by and with design economies. Her research maps politics of contested sites, to rethink design and spatial agency—for architects and residents alike. Recent publications include #ArchSoWhite and What About Typology? An Update for Late Capitalism (both JAE); The Façade of Redevelopment (MWMS Common Reader), and Erasure Urbanism (Architecture is All Over). Prior work includes Roman Operating System (Mutations and Content) with Rem Koolhaas and colleagues. Currently, Heyda is completing Mobilizing the Middle Landscape, a spatial account of U.S. politics of inequality based on Ferguson, Missouri.

Heyda’s Rebuilding the American City (Routledge, 2016) with David Gamble, profiles complexities and strategies of U.S. urban redevelopment in 15 different cities. Heyda and Gamble were featured guests on National Public Radio’s Here and Now, and at the BSA in Boston, the national AIA, APA, the Witte Museum in San Antonio, and the St. Louis History Museum, among other outlets. A follow-up book on American small town design and strategy is also underway (Routledge).

Heyda’s professional experiences span architecture and urban design, in Europe and the United States. Her work with Pritzker Prize-winning Architectures Jean Nouvel has been published in El Croquis, Domus, and other books and periodicals. Heyda’s independent design work is recognized with national and international awards.

Heyda lectures widely, with recent talks at Harvard University, University at Buffalo, and Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, St. Louis. She is quoted in local media, and has also been interviewed for Madison Wisconsin radio, and in the documentary feature film The Kinloch Doc. Her public facing work has appeared in The Conversation, Blavity, Fast Company, Salon, The Houston Chronicle, City Lab, and other outlets.

Featured publications

Rebuilding the American City: Design and Strategy for the 21st Century Urban Core

Urban redevelopment in American cities is complicated. It takes a delicate alignment of goals, power, leadership, ideas and sustained advocacy—sometimes resistance—on the part of many. Rebuilding the American City highlights 15 urban design and planning projects in the U.S. that have been catalysts for their downtowns—yet were implemented during the tumultuous start of the 21st century. The book presents five paradigms of American redevelopment and a range of perspectives on the complexities, successes and challenges inherent to rebuilding American cities today. Ultimately, it asks what rebuilding means, and for whom. Rebuilding the American City is essential reading for practitioners and students in urban design, planning, and public policy looking to understand the behind-thescenes motives, strategies and creative solutions for urban transformation in these political economic times of economic austerity

Other publications

Erasure Urbanism cover

Erasure Urbanism

Author: Patty Heyda
In Architecture is All Over
Editors: Esther Choi, Marrikka Trotter
Columbia University Press, 2017
ISBN 9781941332306
The Facade of Redevelopment cover

The Façade of Redevelopment

Author: Patty Heyda
In Material World of Modern Segregation
Editors: Heidi Kolk, Iver Bernstein
The Common Reader Vol 6, No 1
Washington University in St. Louis, 2022
Journal of Architectural Education cover


Author: Patty Heyda
In Journal of Architectural Education
Editors: Lisa Findley, Marc Neveu
Volume 75, Issue 2, September, 2021
ISSN 1046-4883
What About Typoglogy cover

What About Typology? An Update for Late Capitalism

Author: Patty Heyda
Design as Scholarship in Journal of Architectural Education
Editor: Marc Neveu
JAE Online, September, 2019
Diagrammatically: Urban Infill 5 cover

The City as Diagram Agency

Author: Patty Heyda
In Urban Infill 5: Diagrammatically
Editors: Karen Lewis, Terry Schwarz
Kent State University, 2012
ISBN 978-1-4675-4828-1
Mutations cover

How to Build a Roman City

Authors: Patty Heyda, Jennifer Lee, Rami El Samahy, Hunter Tura
In Mutations
Editors: Armelle Lavalou, Rem Koolhaas, et al
Publisher: ACTAR/ arc en reve
ISBN-10 ‏: ‎ 8495273519

Selected projects

Laboratory for Suburbia logotype on green background

Laboratory for Suburbia

Laboratory for Suburbia is a think tank for critical suburban practice. In the last decade, suburbia has emerged as an urgent site of cultural, political, and spatial contestation—arguably the defining national geography. The design fields, however, have largely failed to engage this crucial space, remaining oriented instead toward cosmopolitan destination sites and inner-city creative placemaking.

Laboratory for Suburbia invites artists and architects to step into this gap. Initially designed as an open forum of online “sprawl sessions”—public exchanges and discussion—the project moves towards a culminating publication and other outcomes. Organized by Gavin Kroeber; with James McAnally at the Luminary; team members Derek Hoeferlin and Ila Sheren, Washington University

Spread from book labeled "Economic development" shows a map of the Bel-Ridge neighborhood in Ferguson, MO.

Mobilizing the Middle Landscape: A Radical Atlas of Ferguson, USA

Mobilizing the Middle Landscape maps the politics of the American first-ring suburb through the lens of Ferguson, Missouri. The project details how economic, design and policy vectors embed contradictory spaces of segregation, poverty, and police violence into the built environment. Drawing by Casey Ryan.

Author: Patty Heyda
(Forthcoming, 2023)
100 maps, 280 Pages

Stack of color-coded cards with minimalist line drawings of plots, buildings, and in one case a chicken. Real estate statistics and factoids are listed on each.

Typology Cards for Suburbia

Project from Heyda: Country Mouse, City Mouse graduate architecture studio.
Sheng Yan, student design lead
JAE Online, September, 2019
Two renderings of a semi-flooded greenspace with pedestrian boardwalks, kayakers in the water, and a road with a bike lane bordering.


Awarded design project, Nashville Civic Design Center Designing Action international competition. Project partner Jen Lee Michaliszyn, with Shen Ni
Map of development along a riverway.

The Anacostia Waterfront Framework Plan

Nine-mile comprehensive urban design framework for the Anacostia River corridor and neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., Chan Krieger Associates.
Rendering CKA, WRT

Other work, essays, and news

The Quarantine Atlas

“The things we do to prop up work…”
Author: Patty Heyda
In Quarantine Atlas (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2022)
Editors: Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab
ISBN-13 9780762478132