Elihu Rubin ’99
Associate Professor of Architecture
Ghost Town. It is one of the most enduring and evocative place-based metaphors. It describes that eerie, anticipatory state of emptiness in otherwise intact, or mostly intact, landscapes. Everything in place. Nobody there. In the Spring of 2020, this figure-of-speech emerged in the news again as “Coronavirus Ghost Towns” spread across the globe and so many of us marveled at what the New York Times called “The Great Empty.” Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman wrote on March 23, 2020, “Times Square is a ghost town, as are the City of London and the Place de la Concorde in Paris during what used to be the morning rush.” The coronavirus ghost towns are only the most recent chapter in the longer history of an American icon. In each instance, the moniker reveals something about the politics and representation of urban change.
Join Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at the Yale School of Architecture, with a secondary appointment in American Studies, for a discussion of how America’s urban landscapes have and will continue to evolve in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.