Myles Zhang grew up in Newark, New Jersey. His activism, artistic practice, and writing in the digital humanities reflect on urban history and the contemporary challenges of land use, planning, and historic preservation facing American cities. His research examines how politics, race, and culture are imprinted on the way cities and buildings are designed. In some form or another, all of his work reflects Winston Churchill’s observation that “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
Myles graduated from Columbia University and the University of Oxford with a B.A. in art history and architectural history. His work there visualized building construction sequences, medieval architecture, and the urban development of New York City. He then obtained his MPhil from the University of Cambridge in architecture and urban studies, where his thesis examined how philosophies of incarceration were reflected in the design of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. His future projects examine how government policies like redlining, zoning, highway construction, and urban renewal shaped twentieth-century American cities and continue to enforce segregation. The history of the built environment is key to understanding the contemporary geographies of incarceration and injustice.
Recent publications and interviews with Myles are found on his personal website and YouTube channels.