Citizens of No Place is a collection of short stories on architecture and urbanism, graphically represented using manga-style storyboards. Fiction is used as a strategy to unpack thoughts about architecture. Modeled as a proto-manifesto, it is a candid chronicle of a highly critical thought process in the tradition of paper architecture (especially that of architect John Hejduk and Bernard Tschumi's Manhattan Transcript). The short stories explore many architectural problems through the unique language of the graphic novel, helping usher the next generation of architectural theory and criticism.
"Follows in the tradition of Rem Koolhaas's Content, but makes the page come alive for a generation raised on This American Life and manga.... Intensely beautiful, whimsical, and profound.... It's as if the Little Prince grew up to become an architect." -- Metropolis
"Blends the ethos of urbanism with the sensibility of manga to deliver a stunning black-and-white manifesto for place, public space, and the function of the imaginary and the implausible in architectural theory and criticism." -- Brain Pickings
"By distilling architectural discourse through cartooning in Citizens, Lai has developed an accessible and lively platform from which he can entertain weighty architectural, planning, and policy concepts about utopias; subjective perception; alternative spatial dimensions; and human interaction with design. His deft illustration--whose palette includes manga, DC comics, and OMA-infused photographic collage--weaves a magical experience. Filled with humor and polemic, the vignettes combine the energy of Hayao Miyazaki's 2001 film Spirited Away with the knitted lines of Daniel Libeskind's The Space of Encounter from the same year" -- Blueprint