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.

Art, History, And Urban Contestation: A Review Of Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani’s Contested City

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…

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).

On November 1st and 2nd, Gabrielle was at the Society for American City and Regional Planning speaking about Contested City, and about our project East Village Building Blocks.

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 :)

In the last days of our exhibition Keep Me Nearby, we held this summer’s final Layered SPURA tour, which happened to fall on the day that New York declared a heat advisory and half the city seemed to be closing down.

Yet, we turned up to the gallery to find 20 passionate people ready to brave the heat to talk about SPURA, community, displacement, solidarity, housing, and history. Many thanks to the students of ICP’s Teen Academy for participating in the walk, and to Daniel Lu, Joey Santos, Michael Ortiz, and Pasha Safronov for documenting that extraordinary day.

Our exhibition Keep Me Nearby was featured in Untapped Cities in July 2019, and Untapped Cities Insiders hosted a Layered SPURA tour for an eager group on one July evening. Read on below for a snippet from the article.

The constant evolution and renewal of New York City can often leave casualties in its wake, whether it’s the shuttering of a beloved local business, or in some cases the loss of a home. In the 1960s, a 14-square-block area in the Lower East Side was cleared as part of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Thousands of people lost…

We were honored that in July 2019 WNYC radio’s All of It with Alison Stewart rebroadcast the interview that Alison did with Gabrielle about Contested City, with a new introduction featuring Keep Me Nearby. Listen to the segment here!

REBROADCAST: Artist, curator, and visiting assistant professor at The New School, Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, joins us to discuss her book, Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, which breaks down the complex history behind this 50 year long fight for affordable housing in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The book has also inspired a…

May 31-July 21, 2019 :: Cuchifritos Gallery & Project Space, Artists Alliance, in Essex Market

so please when I die… / don’t take me far away / keep me nearby / take my ashes and scatter them thru out / the Lower East Side
– Miguel Piñero

This summer, it was our honor to have curated the inaugural exhibition in Cuchifritos Gallery & Project Space in its new home in the new Essex Market. Keep Me Nearby considered what it means to make home at SPURA and on the Lower East Side, and how understanding the complex threads of this…

Our two-decade-long project Intersection | Prospect Heights returned to PHNDC’s first annual “Prospect Heights Together Day” to spark new dialogue. New York State Attorney General Tish James and Olanike Alabi were two of many neighbors who contributed new stories about where they find meaning in Prospect Heights — including places they’ve lost. People told stories ranging from favorite playgrounds, to fears from Atlantic Yards, to their family’s three generations in the neighborhood, to lamenting the loss of the many Black-owned businesses that they felt proud for their children to look up to.

More coming soon on the next steps with Intersection!

Olanike Alabi, Gabrielle, and New York State Attorney General Tish James with Intersection | Prospect Heights

In April 2019, Contested City moved west to California with an extraordinary series of talks and community conversations in Davis and Sacramento, hosted by Imagining America, and a series of events in Berkeley, culminating in Contested City: Art, Activism, and Urban Renewal, hosted by UC Berkeley’s Global Urban Humanities initiative.

Talking about development, urban renewal, disinvestment and shared histories between the east and west coasts in Sacramento, hosted by Imagining America.

In a spring full of travel across the country with Contested City, Gabrielle returned to New York for a minute, and was honored to lead a Layered SPURA tour in “Making Space for Dialogue Amidst Urban Renewal” on April 13, 2019 as part of Assembly, a day of art and learning hosted by A Blade of Grass and FABnyc. Beginning a series of tours co-led by long-time activists at SPURA, this tour was co-led by the legendary Tito Delgado. Thanks to Dominique Sindayiganza for photographs of this excellent day.


Using #design and #research, Buscada brings together organizations & communities to foster more just cities. #civicengagement #urbanism #publichumanities

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