Jennifer Mack’s work focuses on equality, power, ecology, and social change in the built environment, combining approaches from architectural history and anthropology. Her current research focuses on the design, use, and renovation of late modernist landscapes. She is the author of The Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) and co-editor of two anthologies: Rethinking the Social in Architecture: Making Effects (Actar, 2019) and Life Among Urban Planners: Practice, Professionalism, and Expertise in the Making of the City (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020). She has published in numerous anthologies and a range of journals, including Public Culture, American Ethnologist, International Journal of Islamic Architecture, and Landscape Research and is a member of the editorial board of Thresholds.
Mack has also previously published work on the “right to the garden” (with Justin Parscher), mosques as town centers, architects and bureaucratic expertise, and mid-20th century youth centers, among other topics. Mack has worked as an architectural and urban designer in Boston and Barcelona and is or has been a member of several international research networks, including “New Towns, Arrival Cities” and three NOS-HS networks on welfare state architecture, architectural anthropology, and welfare landscapes. She holds a PhD (Architecture, Urbanism, and Anthropology) from Harvard University, an MArch and MCP from MIT, and a BA from Wesleyan University.
Parks around the Towers: Landscape as Resource in the Urban Periphery from the Record Years to the Future
[Formas: "The Challenges and Opportunities of Urbanization"]
Reversing a famous functionalist formulation – from “towers in the park” to “parks around the towers” – this project studies the construction, use, and transformation of outdoor spaces created near multifamily housing during the Swedish Record Years (1961-1975), when 1.4 million dwelling units were built and discourses of nature emphasized the “rational.” Negative media attention has cast a long shadow. Architects and planners involved are often asked to develop environmentally and socially sustainable solutions, but the green, open, and public spaces around the housing have typically not been the focus of these efforts.
The project has two main aims: 1. To uncover how local residents have transformed landscapes since their construction, such as new ecosystems and unplanned spatial practices, and the role that social change has played. 2. To probe the shaping and reshaping of Record Year outdoor areas in original plans and in official renovations by architects and planners, and whose spatial interests are prioritized in the context of increased urbanization across intersectional questions of ethnic, national, and gender identity.
By redefining late modernist landscapes – from background to foreground – this project creates a fertile ground to view the outdoor spaces of the Record Years as resources to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. If centers and suburbs may be increasingly considered in ecological and social symbiosis, this interdisciplinary study investigates open, green, and public spaces as critical components of urbanization: the spaces where public life and new social and environmental demands intersect.
BIG Faith: Migration and the History, Politics, and Architecture of Monumental Religious Buildings in Sweden, 2013-2015 [Vetenskapsrådet, Project Number 2012-00954]
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2013 [Forte]
"Architecture in Effect" Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012
Harvard University Graduate Society Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2010-2011
P.E.O. Scholar Award Research Grant, 2009-2010
Harvard University Center for European Studies Research Grant, 2008-2009
American-Scandinavian Foundation Research Grant, 2008-2009
Harvard University Graduate Student Council Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, 2007
Harvard University Graduate Society Pre-Dissertation Research Grant, 2007
Project Grant (with C. Agdler and A. Lundstedt), 2002-2004 [Konstnärsnämnden]
Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program on NGOs and Forced Migration Research Grant, 2002-2003
US Fulbright Program Research Grant to Sweden, 2000-2001
History and Theory of Architecture 2: Architecture Modernity (A21HIC), teacher | Course web
History and Theory of Architecture 3:1 World Architecture (A31H1A), examiner, course responsible, teacher | Course web
History and Theory of Architecture 3:2: Thesis, First Level (A31H2A), examiner, course responsible, teacher | Course web
Seminar Course, Advanced Level 4VT (A42SEV), teacher | Course web
Seminar Course, Advanced Level 5VT (A52SEV), teacher | Course web