Historians of the future will have a hard time distinguishing what we call the Anthropocene from the economic model that supported humankind’s planetary domination. Capitalism is so naturalized in present times that it becomes quite invisible, despite being the elephant in the room. As Slavoj Žižek has stated, it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.1 Our discipline of architectural history has also struggled with capitalism, which remains too hegemonic in the eyes of many. From the paradigmatic work of Manfredo Tafuri in the 1970s to the more recent work of Felicity Scott and Peggy Deamer, we have a plethora of scholarship that discusses the relationship between design and the money that pays for it.

In Chasing World-Class Urbanism, Jacob Lederman makes a significant contribution to our provisional and still incomplete understanding of architecture’s relation to capitalism. In the...

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