What Goes Up (Hardcover)

The Right and Wrongs to the City

By Michael Sorkin

Verso, 9781786635150, 368pp.

Publication Date: April 17, 2018

List Price: 34.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A radical architect examines the changing fortunes of the contemporary city

Michael Sorkin is one of the most forthright and engaging architectural writers in the world. In What Goes Up he takes to task the public officials, developers, “civic” organizations, and other heroes of big money, who have made of Sorkin’s beloved New York a city of glittering towers and increasing inequality. He unpacks not simply the forms and practices—from zoning and political deals to the finer points of architectural design—that shape cities today but also offers spirited advocacy for another kind of city, reimagined from the street up on a human scale, a home to sustainable, just, and fulfilling neighborhoods and public spaces.

Informing his writing is a lifetime’s experience as an architect and urbanist. Sorkin writes of the joys and techniques of observing and inhabiting cities and buildings in order to both better understand and to more happily be in them. Sorkin has never been shy about naming names. He has been a scourge of design mediocrity and of the supine compliance of “starchitects,” who readily accede to the demands of greed and privilege. What Goes Up casts the net wide, as he directs his arguments to students, professionals, and urban citizens with vigor, expertise, respect, and barbed wit.

About the Author

Michael Sorkin is an award-winning architect, Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the City College of New York, as well as President of the non-profit architecture and urban think tank Terreform. In 2010, he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters award in architecture and, in 2013, the National Design Award in the Design Mind category. For ten years, Sorkin was architecture critic for the Village Voice; he is currently the critic at the Nation and writes regularly for Architectural Record and the Architectural Review. His books include Exquisite Corpse, Some Assembly Required, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Wiggle, and All Over the Map.

Praise For What Goes Up: The Right and Wrongs to the City

“Easily one of the best architecture critics around … Sorkin is a flaneur with a sense of public purpose.”

“America’s most invigorating writer on architecture.”

“Sorkin is a formidable opponent of the banal, the ugly, the stupid and the vapidly posturing which, he argues, are all around us.”
Publishers Weekly

“Michael Sorkin secures his claim to succeed Jane Jacobs … He brings to bear an eye every bit as acute, a pen nearly as trenchant, and a political understanding perhaps a little bit more sophisticated of the never-ending struggle over New York’s neighbourhoods.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Sorkin is one of the most intelligent writers on architecture today.”

Library Journal

What Goes Up is a series of pithy and piquant essays on the twin problems facing New York and many other large cities: affordability and climate change.”
—Bennett Baumer, Indypendent

“Through masterful language and sentence crafting, he weaves together complex ideas, such as the role media and new technologies play in our digital age and their impact on privacy issues, as well as the new context this sets up for the creation of architecture and public space … The need for a critical voice has never been more important. Witness, chronicler, and analyst, Sorkin provides a framework in his writing for critical evaluation of the architectural process and works to ensure that the city remains a place for people.”
Architecture Boston