CUNY Board of Trustees Names Michael Sorkin Distinguished Professor of Architecture at CCNY

Michael Sorkin, director of the graduate program in Urban Design in The City College of New York School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA), has been named Distinguished Professor of Architecture. The CUNY Board of Trustees approved the promotion at its January 28 meeting.

Over the past two decades, Professor Sorkin has been one of the world’s most influential scholars of urban design. His 15 books, countless articles and influential positions as Contributing Editor to Architectural Record and as Architecture Critic of the Village Voice for a decade have shaped the field of urban design both in the United States and abroad.

“Michael Sorkin is a true visionary about the possibilities cities can represent,” said George Ranalli, Dean of the School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. “We’re proud to have him as a member of the SAUDLA faculty and congratulate him on this most-deserved recognition.”

Professor Sorkin’s works take on the most difficult politicized problems in urban design today and include the voices of all those affected. His books Exquisite Corpse and Local Code are considered classics of Urban Planning theory and criticism.

At CCNY, where he has taught since 2000, he organizes annual field trips for his students to observe and get hands-on practice with urban design projects in other countries, including China, Vietnam, Cuba, South Africa and Ecuador. He also has strengthened connections with programs at the CUNY Graduate Center and recruited several distinguished professors to teach classes at CCNY.

In addition, he has instituted two lecture series that have brought to the campus Nobel Prize winners, distinguished authors and public figures to discuss the life of cities. Past participants in The Lewis Mumford Lecture series, which Professor Sorkin began in 2004, include Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and Nobel economist and Harvard University professor Dr. Amartya Sen.

From 1993 to 2000, Professor Sorkin was Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. A Visiting Professor at a number of universities, he most recently was the 40th Anniversary Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Aarhus School of Architecture and the Eliel Saarinen Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan.

As an urban designer who operates a not-for-profit called Terreform, his most recent projects include the Shanghai Main Station District Master Plan in Shanghai, China; the Almere Hout Master Plan in Almere, Netherlands, and a master plan for Riva, Turkey, a community on the Black Sea.

CUNY Distinguished Professorships are reserved for faculty with records of exceptional performance by national and international standards of excellence in their profession, according to Dr. Selma Botman, CUNY Executive Vice Chancellor, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer.

Successful candidates must demonstrate substantial evidence of outstanding performance, including a significant body of high-quality work in areas of importance in their disciplines. In addition to superb scholarship, Distinguished Professors are expected to participate in appropriate teaching and service roles in their colleges, she said.

About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit

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