Lawrence Vale is Ford Professor Urban Design and Planning at MIT, where he served as Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 2002-2009. He currently serves as president of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History. He holds degrees from Amherst College (B.A. in American Studies, summa cum laude), M.I.T. (S.M.Arch.S.), and the University of Oxford (D.Phil.), which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Vale is the author or editor of eight books examining urban design and housing, including Architecture, Power, and National Identity (1992; 2nd edition, 2008), a book about capital city design on six continents (winner of the1994 Spiro Kostof Book Award for Architecture and Urbanism).
Much of Professor Vale's most recent published work has examined the history, politics, and design of American public housing. These books include From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors (2001 "Best Book in Urban Affairs"); Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods (2005 Paul Davidoff Award); and Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities, due out in April, 2013. This research has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has also received the Chester Rapkin Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, an EDRA/Places Award for “Place Research,” and the John M. Corcoran Award for Community Investment. Vale is also co-editor, with Sam Bass Warner, Jr., of Imaging the City: Continuing Struggles and New Directions (2001); co-editor, with Thomas J. Campanella, of The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover From Disaster (2005); and co-editor, with Bish Sanyal and Christina Rosan, of Planning Ideas That Matter: Livability, Territoriality, Governance, and Reflective Practice (2012).