Tearing Down the Convention Centers

In the latest issue of Next American City, writer Josh Stephens opines about the limited value of convention centers. The piece has already gotten some nice feedback — and may be starting a larger dialogue about these enormous buildings.

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

I sit a stone’s throw from the Philadelphia Convention Center and the convention center’s expansion. On my desk is a photograph taken by a local photographer and artist, Jacob Hellman, that shows the demolition and site preparation that preceded the expansion. It’s violent and a good reminder of what happens when good cities make bad choices.

Do we need convention centers? That’s what Josh Stephens asks in his piece, “Unconventional Thinking.” I’d been looking for someone to write about this topic for as long as I’ve been an editor at this magazine and I was thrilled when Stephens had the urge to write about the subject as well.

Turns out Stephens isn’t alone. Urban Omnibus has just published an interview with Bob Yaro of New York’s Redevelopment Authority. Yaro wants to rip down the enormous Javits Center.

Are there other published diatribes attacking convention centers? Other defenses of convention centers?

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Diana Lind is the former executive director and editor in chief of Next City.

Follow Diana

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 992 other sustainers such as:

  • Susan at $60/Year
  • Anonymous at $5/Month
  • Anonymous at $5/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $60 or

    Just Action by Leah Rothstein and Richard Rothstein

  • Solutions of the year 2022

    Donate $20 or $5/Month

    2022-2023 Solutions of the Year magazine

  • Brave New Home

    Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind