Defending Luxury

Published on: November 28th, 2011
A series exploring ideas in the Design Studies curriculum.

Defending Luxury (Part I)

Image Flickr/Detlef Schobert | License CC BY-ND 2.0

One of the most charged classes of the semester in Theorizing Luxury tackles questions about how the wealthy defend their luxurious lifestyles. Reading Mike Davis’s work about Los Angeles incites conversation about how design can create distinctions between classes.Through design conceits, such as rounded benches that do not allow sleeping and landscapes that include elaborate hedges, urban environments can become hostile to those who are deemed inappropriate. Davis even takes on famous architects, like Frank Gehry, and accuses them of reinforcing class differences.

Los Angeles, with its highways that divide the city into a class-based dystopia, is a prime example of how the wealthy utilize design as a type of defense mechanism.

Program Contact

Caroline Dionne, Program Director

Program Update

Parsons is not currently admitting new students to this master’s degree program. Parsons is now offering a Graduate Minor in Design Studies that is designed to complement the MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies and other graduate programs across the university in design, liberal arts, and social research.