Nicholas de Monchaux Named the 2019-2024 craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media

02 Sep, 2019

Nicholas de Monchaux Named the 2019-2024 craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media

We are thrilled to announce that Nicholas de Monchaux has been named the 2019-2024 craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media.

The Chair was donated by in recognition of the BCNM’s “long tradition in facilitating the technical and cultural advances on which modern society depends” and its position in “illuminating the exponentially expanding opportunities and impacts of new media across a host of disciplines.”

As the craigslist chair, Nicholas will be using the city to think about media and their future. In "The City of Media," Nicholas will collaborate with Luis Bettencourt, a physicist and network scientist and Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago to write a sequel to Jane Jacobs' 1962 The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In that book, the erudite architecture critic and activist drew on a prescient understanding of network science to critique the technologically-inflected and socially destructive urban designs of her day. A sequel, drawing on a more sophisticated and contemporary understanding of the same ideas is profoundly necessary, particularly as we navigate the forced confluence of technological, social and cultural networks with very different characters, levels of accountability, and equally destructive effect in the contemporary urban landscape. As part of this program, Nicholas will convene a series of public events and faculty seminar to act as a creative and intellectual commons to connect conversations about the city and technology across the campus.

His second related project explores the basis of contemporary social media and mobile technologies in the urban history and physical form of the San Francisco Bay Area. Home to only seven million of the world’s six billion inhabitants, the Bay Area is inevitably consigned in architecture histories as the home to ‘regional’ styles. But if we take only a slightly broader definition of ‘architecture’ — one that acknowledges the many ways in which the role of design and technology at the intersection of landscape and city has profoundly changed in the last several decades — a different view emerges. Indeed, one of this project’s assertions is that we are all, six billion of us, living in San Francisco’s architecture—whether we like it or not. Thus a deep and precise measurement of this architectural influence — through writing, but also fabrication, models, drawings and the creation of archives of spatial data — has the potential not just to elevate the profile of our local culture globally, but provide essential insight into our global predicament as well.

Nicholas has been an invaluable member of the Center, leading critical efforts to transform BCNM into a self-sustaining entity on campus. He has also been instrumental developing the next generation of leaders in new media, drawing in and supporting engaged junior faculty.

Nicholas embodies the vision of the BCNM and will make an excellent craigslist Distinguished Chair of New Media.