We’re honored by Barry Goldberg’s review of Contested City in The Metropole, in which he calls the book a model “to untangle the sticky legacies of urban renewal” and to “illustrate the complex definitions of “community” and the intangible meanings — cultural, psychological, and emotional — embedded in physical space.” Read on below for an excerpt of the review, or read the whole thing here.
Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2018).
Reviewed by Barry Goldberg
In 1965, the New York City Board of Estimate, an eight-member body that once had authority over the city’s budget and land-use matters, but has since been declared unconstitutional, approved a plan to create the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). At the time, the site was one of lower Manhattan’s most racially and ethnically diverse communities, a fourteen-block area of small businesses and tenements in the heart of New York’s Lower East Side. Over 1,850 families lived there and roughly 80% were low-income. In 1967, the city took possession of — and began to demolish — the old SPURA buildings. Housing authorities provided a written guarantee to displaced residents that they would have priority rights to one of the roughly 1,800 new apartments built on the site. …
October 2019 kicked off with Contested City at the International Center of Photography on Monday April 7, 6:30pm, in a talk at Abrons Art Center on Grand Street on the Lower East Side.
Gabrielle was at Imagining America in Albuquerque on October 18, giving a workshop on participatory public history and creative practice and a virtual Layered SPURA tour.
On October 24th at 6pm Gabrielle gave the Right to the City Lecture at City College, at the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center For Worker Education (CWE).
Over the summer we were honored to participate in the Winterhouse Institute Symposium on Design Education for Social Impact at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. So many friends and colleagues, and yet another way to reconnect with the Watson Foundation, whose fellowship for Gabrielle in many ways made possible the creation of Buscada.
Looking forward to continuing these conversations! (spot GBV here, always finding something funny :)