“What I can do is change the conversation,” says Lange of her design writing, which has spangled publications like The New Yorker, Curbed, and the New York Times. She believes she can do this by focusing attention on a designer, project, or historical moment that’s typically overlooked, or by asserting an alternative opinion about an object of design or work of architecture that is central to mainstream discourse.
Lange has made a name for herself by bringing visibility to causes ranging from the erasure of women’s contributions to design history (“Architecture’s Lean In Moment”) to historical preservation (“Imagining Jane Jacobs”) to urban park equity (“How to Fix New York City’s Parks”)—which refers to the equal care of all public parks, whether they be lucrative tourist attractions or tiny neighborhood green spaces. Responsible landscaping of public spaces, a subject on which she’s written extensively, “can address a number of the most pressing problems of our current urban age,” she says, “including climate change, the public realm, and public health.”
Since having children, Lange has become fascinated with children’s design, from the bright colors that swathe toys to the construction of playgrounds and car seats. “I found that I couldn’t turn the critic part of my brain off, even when I was sitting on the floor trying to interest my son in tiny farm animals,” she says. In response, she began writing a series of essays that explore the history of the objects that surround children and how they inform human experience. They’ll become a book, published by Bloomsbury USA, in spring 2018.