Designer Patrik Schumacher Creates Controversy with ‘Urban Policy Manifesto’

Patrik Schumacher. Photo: Getty Images.

Patrik Schumacher created a rift in the design community with his recent comments about public housing and gentrification. The successor to Zaha Hadid created a firestorm of controversy recently when he called for an end to public housing and openly espoused gentrification at The World Architecture Festival.

Patrik Schumacher with the late Zaha Hadid. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Patrik Schumacher with the late Zaha Hadid. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

In his keynote speech, Schumacher spelled out plans a for a privatized city where such a thing as Hyde Park would be wiped out. The idea relies on private investment in a city where social programs such as housing, public schools and other platforms that are the foundation of many a democracy are scrapped for the interests of only those who can afford to live there and pay for them.

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He called it a “tragedy” that “someone has had the privilege of a subsidized central location for some time” and further that, “in my view [it] should not establish ownership.”

Naturally such comments didn’t go well with the public at large, the greater design community, nor the other trustees in the Zaha Hadid Foundation. And it wasn’t long before the other trustees had to quickly distance themselves and Hadid’s legacy from Schumacher’s comments before they might tarnish the Foundation’s image. Essentially, the other trustees said in a public statement that they “totally disagree” with Schumacher’s position. And had Hadid been alive, she would too.