Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Levinson’

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“We were ready to fly on our own,” Nancy Levinson said in August as she described the next phase of life for the beloved Places Journal, based in San Francisco, where she is the editor and executive director. In late June, Levinson and Josh Wallaert, the journal’s senior editor, posted the last piece in Places as part of the Design Observer Group’s platform of online design writing. In late September they relaunched Places as an independent site dedicated, as its tagline says, to “public scholarship in architecture, landscape, and urbanism.” The main support for Places comes from a group of 24 universities, each of which has a member on the journal’s board of directors. The site also receives foundation grants and individual donations.

Places was started in 1983 by faculty members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley (Donlyn Lyndon and William Porter were founding editors). It appeared as a print publication until it went online-only in 2009 as part of Design Observer. The decision earlier this year to end the partnership with Design Observer was a friendly one, Levinson said. “It was great to be partners, and it was a great way to move from being a print publication to being a web publication.” The new site, she said, clarifies the stand-alone status of Places as a nonprofit, dot-org rather than dot-com, that offers long-form public-interest journalism. The Design Observer site provides a link to the new home for Places.

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Hammering out the new site’s design began in May. Levinson and Wallaert hired Kyle Larkin of Extra Small Design, in Phoenix, to create the site; Larkin had been the first web editor of Places in 2009. The new design gives the journal a cleaner look, bigger images, slide shows, and easy sharing on social media. Levinson’s goal was to create a more “immersive” format for Places’s roomy inquiries into design topics that range among media, politics, geography, economics, industry, energy, and sex. There are links from current pieces to those in the journal’s archive of about 1,800 articles published since 1983. At the bottom of a recently posted essay, “From Architecture to Landscape,” by Brian Davis and Thomas Oles, you reach links to other pieces relating to landscape. And you can find the entire Places print archive available in PDF. There is plenty to explore.

“People don’t necessarily go online to read journals,” Levinson said. “They go online to read articles, and as they read articles, they discover journals. Our big focus is our commitment to articles that are serious and substantial. The web has become a very fraught place, and we’re trying to maintain a strong signal amid the ever-increasing noise.”

For more information, visit https://placesjournal.org.

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