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Allison Arieff Allison Arieff

Principal/Writer/Editor | Modernhouse

San Francisco, CA, UNITED STATES

Expert on design & architecture with a particular focus on the future of cities and suburbia



Allison Arieff is Contributing Columnist for the New York Times and Contributing Writer, Design for The Atlantic Cities. She also edits The Urbanist, the magazine of SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association). She consults on architecture, design and sustainability, most recently for IDEO, Urban Revision, and Build a Better Burb. The former Editor in Chief (and founding senior editor) of Dwell magazine, she is the author of the books "Prefab" and "Trailer Travel: A Visual History of Mobile America." She is former Editor at Large for Sunset and GOOD magazines. She is Chairman of the Board of FERN (Food and Environment Reporting Network) and also serves on SPUR's Food Systems & Urban Ag Policy board.

Industry Expertise (5)


Architecture and Planning


Media - Online

Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (3)

The Future of Suburbia

Tactical Urbanism (Temporary is the New Permanent)

Prefab's Potential

Accomplishments (1)

National Magazine Award for General Excellence (Dwell, 2005) (professional)

Education (3)

New York University: PhD Coursework, American Studies 1996

UCLA: BA, History 1988

UC Davis: MA, Art History 1991

Event Appearances (3)


Motopia  USC



From Derrida to Dwell to DIY Urbanism  D-Crit, School of Visual Arts



Sustainability and the Beginning Design Student  University of Nebraska School of Architecture


Sample Talks (1)

Tactical Urbanism

Cities are starved for cash, their workers weary of bureaucratic obstacles and the word "no." So in the last couple of years, they've welcomed the creative, energetic, and financially prudent efforts of grassroots organizations that have seen opportunity in crisis. Vacant lots, abandoned buildings, parking spaces, and even slivers of pavement, have been transformed by prudent partnerships between governments, artists, architects, and designers, and volunteers motivated to improve their own communities. We?re not talking about pop-up shops: these efforts are designed to enhance daily life not promote product. As circumstances change, how can the temporary space continue to function as effective component of the urban revitalization toolbox?


  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Author Appearance


1500 to 10000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee