Aaron Shkuda

Project Manager, Princeton-Mellon Initiative

PhD History, U. of Chicago
BA History, U. of Chicago


Trained as an urban historian, Aaron received his PhD from the University of Chicago where his research focused on the role of the arts in urban development. He is the author of The Lofts of Soho: Gentrification, Art, and Industry in New York, 1950–1980 (University of Chicago Press, April 2016). Aaron has published articles on subjects ranging from arts-focused retail districts to the architecture and planning behind Battery Park City. He has worked to bring together scholars in humanistic disciplines with architects and urban planners throughout his career. As an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, Aaron taught classes in architecture, fine arts, and history while organizing a journal series and panel presentations on cities featuring scholars across the disciplines. He also launched Stanford University’s ITALIC (Immersion in the Arts: Living in Culture) program, a residentially-based arts and humanities immersion program for undergraduates.


Selected Publications

The Lofts of Soho: Gentrification, Art, and Industry in New York, 1950–1980 (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

“‘Out With the Galleries, Out with the Sellouts:’ Arts Organizations and Real Estate Investment in Los Angeles and Detroit, European Journal of American Cultural Studies, Summer 2023

“’Exciting Alternatives to Demolition:’ The Shifting Meanings of Preservation in New York’s SoHo” in Max Page and Randall Mason, eds., Giving Preservation a History: Histories of Historic Preservation in the United States, 2nd Edition (Routledge, 2019)

Guest Editor (w/Julia Foulkes), “Dancing in the Streets: The Arts in Postwar U.S. Cities,” special section of The Journal of Urban History, November, 2015

"Housing the 'Front Office to the World:' Urban Planning for the Service Economy in Battery Park City, New York," Journal of Planning History, August 2014

"The Art Market, Arts Funding, and Sweat Equity: The Origins of Gentrified Retail," Journal of Urban History, July 2013

"Review Essay: Art, Artists, and the Image of the Twentieth-Century City," Journal of Urban History, May 2011