Lawrence Vale is Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served as head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 2002 to 2009. He holds degrees from Amherst College, MIT and the University of Oxford. His newest book is Purging the Poorest, published in 2013. Previous books include three prize-winning volumes: Architecture, Power, and National Identity; From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors; and Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods. His overall aim is to elucidate the complex relationship between politics and design in urban places.