As one is wont to do, clicking here and there and avoiding grading and writing, I came across this blog and its very interesting current post containing urban renewal brochures from the 1950s. Most interesting to me is that the images from New York are so seemingly devoid of people. Where are the people? More importantly, after they lay this “abstract space” across the landscape where will the people that live there go. . . .Thanks to dubravka sekulic for this blog.
The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) is a living archive of urban activism. The Museum chronicles the East Village community’s history and grassroots activism. It celebrates local activists who transformed abandoned buildings and vacant lots into vibrant community spaces and community gardens. Many of these innovative, sustainable concepts and designs have since pulsed out to the rest of the city and beyond.
[reposted from artlog.com here]
Last week we asked you to submit questions for David van der Leer, the Guggenheim architecture and urban studies curator behind stillspotting nyc. The two-year project calls on architects, artists, and composers to create “stillspots” throughout the five boroughs, and this time around, legendary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has collaborated with architecture firm Snøhetta, the designers of the museum pavilion at the World Trade Center site. The current edition of stillspotting nyc runs September 15–18 and 22-25.
How does a museum step out of its iconic building for experimental, off-site urban studies projects? Isn’t stillness the antithesis of the city? And why include an improv comedy group? Read Van der Leer’s response Continue reading
[reblogged from http://www.futureofny.org/medalists/omar-freilla]
Photo by Rob Bennett
Even though only 34, Omar Freilla has already brought fresh hope and new ideas to the South Bronx, an area that was a national icon of urban decay in the 1970s and 1980s. Ironically, the reason for this blighted image can be traced back to many of the issues that Jane Jacobs fought against: the construction of highway projects that tore through neighborhoods, cold and imposing housing projects, and slum clearance. Omar and his parents, Zoraida Martez and Jose Freilla, who settled in the Bronx after emigrating from the Dominican Republic in 1960s, were firsthand witnesses to this deterioration and the burning of the Bronx. Continue reading
The Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is a new peer-reviewed publication cutting across both the humanities and the social sciences in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities. The journal is open to studies that deal with culture, urban spaces and forms of urbanized consciousness the world over.
Although we embrace a broad definition of urban cultural studies, we are particularly interested in submissions that give equal weight to: a) one or more aspects of urban studies (everyday life, built environment, architecture, city planning, identity formation, transportation…) and b) analysis of one or more specific forms of cultural/textual production (literature, film, graphic novels, music, art, graffiti, videogames, online or virtual space…) in relation to a given urban space or spaces.
Essays of 7,000-10,000 words (including works cited and notes) should be sent by attachment to the Editor at email@example.com. JUCS is also open to proposals of special issues by guest editors working individually or in teams of two. All citations in other languages should be translated into English for the journal’s international reading public, in addition to including the original text.
While the journal does not publish book reviews, we do publish review essays—which should discuss 3-5 recent books on a shared topic or theme (or place) and run from 2,500 to 4,000 words. Review essays of urban-themed installations or other works of art are also welcome. These essays will be reviewed in house. Given our visual focus, we are interested in original, unpublished artwork on the topic of cities and in publishing articles accompanied by images where appropriate.
We encourage a variety of approaches to the urban phenomenon—the strengths of the editorial board run from urban geography to literature and film, photography and videogames, gender and sexuality, creative economy, popular music, Marxist approaches, fashion, urban planning, anthropology, sociology, Deaf culture, built environment, philosophy, architecture, detective fiction and noir, and more…
Here, Richard Sennett talks at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on “The Architecture of Cooperation.” Watch all of it, but I found very interesting the point (at around minute 44) where he discusses the city as a body, springing from the introduction in New York City so many years ago of the “Spanish Marqueta”/Spanish Market which was going to be placed either at the edge of Spanish Harlem bordering the rich neighborhood at 96th street or in the middle of Spanish Harlem… You can learn more about the market here, but apparently as Sennett mentions the market was bought up recently by a ‘Cuban multinational’… A complementary passage from his 2011 book–well represented in that lecture–reads “Edges come in two sorts: boundaries and borders. A boundary is a relatively inert edge; population thins out at this sort of edge and there’s little exchange among creatures. A border is more of an active edge, as at the shoreline dividing ocean and land; this is a zone of intense biological activity, a feeding ground for animals, a nutrient zone for plants. In human ecology, the eight-lane highway isolating part of the city from each other is a boundary, whereas a mixed-use street at the edge between two communities can be more of a border” (p. 79).
Also, Sennett’s second book in the ‘homo faber’ series (after The Craftsman from 2008; listen to Sennett discussing that book on NPR with Diane Rehm here) is in print (Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation 2011) and his plan is for the last volume (in progress) to be on urban design “a book on making cities” that will follow logically from the first two (the city as a craft and a cooperative activity).
If you will be in New York City this weekend, this conference at the New School for Social Research may be of interest.
All Events are Free and Open to All
A new, exciting museum is being planned to keep alive the rich history of reclaimed urban space in New York City. The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, MoRUS, will be located in the storefront of the historic East Village building C-Squat and will house artifacts like videos, photographs, fliers, posters and communiqués by grassroots community members who have squatted abandoned buildings, championed community gardens, and protested the restrictions placed on public space. MoRUS has the potential to strengthen transversal relays between activists and academics, and establish the environment and setting for new social creativity. However, it is not yet open to the public because it still needs additional funding. If you are interested, you can donate here: http://www.crowdrise.com/helpusstartanewhisto.