Tarsha Finney

Tarsha Finney
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Room 622, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong,
Pokfulam Road, , Hong Kong
Matthew Pryor
Head of Division and Associate Professor,
Division of Landscape Architecture,
The University of Hong Kong
Urban Spatial Reasoning: The Transformation of New York and Beijing in the First Half of the Twentieth Century
Tarsha Finney
Programme Leader/ Senior Research Tutor,
City Design Programme,
The Royal College of Art


Cold war rhetoric typically tells us that the urban transformation of Beijing following the revolution in the 1950’s was something completely different from the huge transformations that were under-way in the cities of North America during the same period. However, a closer look at urban change in the cities of New York and Beijing shows that the complex constellation of forces identifying, clarifying and isolating the modern family from its neighbours and out of what had been an undifferentiated and very different kind of urban field was at work in both cities. In fact, if one context made arguments of the site of the individual being within the single dwelling, and the modern family in its intensifying condition of domesticity, in the other condition the same spatial reasoning can be seen to be at work, but it is the work place and work unit that become the site of positioning the individual – this has huge consequences for the way that daily life was organised during this period.

This lecture will revisit the work developed in 2004 as part of the Michael Ventris Memorial Award given at the Architectural Association, London where the speaker was once a graduate student. It went on to form the basis of her doctoral thesis completed in 2016 titled, Repetition and Transformation: the Housing Project and City of New York 1934 – 1971.

About the Speaker:​

Dr Tarsha Finney is an architect and an urbanist whose work focuses on housing, the city and urban change. She is Senior Research Tutor in the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art where she is Programme Lead of the new MA in City Design and leads the Intergenerational Cities Research Stream which was launched while she was Visiting Professor (2016 – 2017). Her research interests cross several areas: domesticity, the housing project and the role of multi-residential housing in the constitution of the city since the 19th century with particular reference to the city of New York; architectural typology and notions of architectural disciplinary, specificity and autonomy; the architectural urbanism of innovation in cities; and the relationship between spatial performance, ownership and governance structures in the constitution of cities.

The DLA Research Seminar Series provides a platform to discuss scholarly research on the built environment that is interdisciplinary in nature. The series aims to identify common research threads from landscape architecture, architecture, planning, urban design, and conservation, and by doing so instigates critical reflections on the different approaches to the study of landscapes and cities. For the list of seminar topics, see

All are welcome. For enquiries, call: 3917 7699