Event - Reviewing Renewal:

Reviewing Renewal:

02.01.15, 12:00 pm

596 Acres  will present 155+ urban renewal plans that the City has ever adopted in an intervention directly on the Panorama of the City of New York, realizing the online Urban Reviewer map on a 1:1200 scale of the 9,335 square foot Panorama.


New York City began to adopt “urban renewal plans” in 1949 to get federal funding to acquire land, relocate the people living there, demolish the structures and make way for new public and private development. The legacy of these neighborhood master plans remains active across the city, from sites like Lincoln Center to the many vacant lots cleared in East New York and Bushwick for projects that were never completed. Even after federal funding for the program was cut in 1974, New York City continued to adopt renewal plans for neighborhoods – 82 plan areas, where the city has eminent domain power to take private property for the public purpose of eliminating blight and economic “under-performance,” came into being between 1975 and the present.


Urban renewal transforms the city, and changes the lives of many New Yorkers, for better or worse. Over 60 plan for areas of the city remain active today. Some communities are taking advantage of active plan areas to make community aspirations into official plans.


What can we learn from the continuing story of urban renewal in NYC?

Curator: Paula Z. Segal, Esq., 596 Acres, Inc.
Exhibition Design: Mary Bereschka, Greg Mihalko, Stephen von Muehlen
Design: Partner & Partners
Event Production: Amy Fitzgerald, Oksana Mironova


Exhibition made possible thanks to the support of Mapzen and the Queens Museum.
Related Programming on Sundays Jan 11-Feb 8, 2015. All events are free. Some RSVPs required.


Sunday, February 1, 2015


12pm  – 1pm, 2nd floor theater
Reviewing Renewal Film Presentation: The Rink 
2014, Sarah Friedland, 55 min, with filmmaker Q & A


The Rink, 2014, Sarah Friedland & Ryan Joseph, 55 min
Branch Brook Park Roller Rink, located in Newark, NJ, is one of the few remaining urban rinks of its kind. This concrete structure is nestled in a public park bordered by public housing and a highway. Upon first glance, the exterior resembles a fallout shelter; however, the streamers and lights of the interior are reminiscent of 1970s roller discos. This documentary depicts a space cherished by skaters and a city struggling to move beyond its past and forge a new narrative amidst contemporary social issues.


Sarah Friedland’s documentary films and installations are concerned with personal stories that reveal larger histories and intricacies about place and society. Friedland’s works with Esy Casey have screened widely in the US and abroad and have been supported by grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Paul Newman Foundation, the William H. Prusoff Foundation, The Princess Grace Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Center for Asian American Media. In 2009, after the debut of her feature documentary Thing With No Name, she was named one of the “Top 10 Independent Filmmakers to Watch” by the Independent Magazine. She is a recipient of the 2014 Paul Robeson award from the Newark Museum for her feature documentary The Rink. Her recent documentary Jeepney (directed by Esy Casey produced by Esy Casey and Sarah Friedland) will be broadcast on PBS in 2015. She is a 2014 LABA House of Study fellow and is currently working on two projects: Memorials (with Esy Casey), a feature documentary about the way America memorializes its dead; and 5 x Lydda, a documentary video installation. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Film and Film Studies at Wagner College.


Ryan Joseph was born in Trinidad, West Indies and now resides in Jersey City, NJ.  As a freelance documentary photographer and filmmaker his work focuses on documenting and bringing to light marginalized communities and subcultures. Ryan has displayed at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey and The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland, among other venues. He has been published in The New York Times, Jet Magazine, En Foco Photography Magazine, Urban Ink Magazine and has worked as a still photographer for Asante film production, The Black Candle.




1pm – 3pm, Unisphere Gallery, 2nd floor
Reviewing Renewal: What happens to a neighborhood “renewed?”
Strategies, tactics and tools of community participation in response to urban renewal. Attorney Amy Laura Cahn and historian Marci Reaven will talk about the disempowering force of “blight,” community planning boards and people’s plans in New York City, and Eastwick, Philadelphia – the largest urban renewal site in the USA. Activists from the contested Seward Park Urban Renewal Area on Manhattan’s Lower East Side will join the conversation, and Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and the Layered SPURA / City Studio project from the New School & Buscada will host a pop-up exhibition and lead an interactive workshop in which participants will be invited to take on roles in a community struggle over its future.


Marci Reaven is the Vice President of History Exhibits at the New York Historical Society, and a former director of the Place Matters project (www.placematters.org).


Amy Laura Cahn, Esq. is a lawyer at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Director of the Garden Justice Legal Initiative. Ms. Cahn provides legal and advocacy support to community gardens and farms in historically disinvested communities, and works on environmental justice issues. In 2014, her article “€œOn Retiring Blight as Policy and Making Eastwick Whole”€ was published in Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.


Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani is a photographer, urbanist and curator, and is the creator of the Layered SPURA project, a six-year public art, activist and teaching project in conjunction with her City Studio class at the New School. Gabrielle is co-founder of Buscada (http://buscada.com/), an interdisciplinary practice on place and dialogue, and is Assoc. Director of Civic Engagement Initiatives and professor of Urban Studies at the New School. She holds a PhD in Environmental Psychology from the Graduate Center, CUNY and her creative research addresses the experience & politics of everyday place in London, Buenos Aires, Oakland, CA and New York.


The Layered SPURA / City Studio project, created by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, explores the complexity of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) on the Lower East Side. Over 40 years ago, the City of New York cleared 14 square blocks on the south side of Delancey Street, yet most of the planned housing on the site was never built. Still primarily used as parking lots, but now the subject of large-scale development, the site has long been contested by a divided neighborhood. The Layered SPURA/City Studio project has built long-term collaborations between community organizations and New School students to create exhibitions, art and research to foster new spaces for conversations about SPURA’s  future.






3pm – 4pm, Panorama
Urban Renewal is Scapegoated to Justify Current Conditions of Spatial Domination, an artist’s walk & talk with Damon Rich


Damon Rich is a designer, planner, and visual artist. He will present work about and around urban renewal, including exhibitions The City Without a Ghetto (2003), Abuse of Power: The SPURA Story (2006), Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center (2007) and Mix and Match (Nevarca>New Ark) (2010). At the Queens Museum in 2009, Rich’s Cities Destroyed for Cash used 1431 plastic markers to map every block in New York City with three or more foreclosure filings on 1-3 family homes onto the Panorama of New York City. Damon will also discuss applications of planning exhibitions for practice in his work as founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) and Planning Director for the City of Newark, New Jersey.






4pm – 6pm, Unisphere Gallery, 2nd floor 
Reviewing Renewal: From Redlining to Gentrification
Program by the University of Orange with Dr. Mindy Fullilove, Molly Rose Kaufman, Rod Wallace, Havanna Fisher, Aubrey Murdock and the film Urban Renewal is People Removal (2005).


Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D. is the President of the University of Orange.  She is also a board-certified psychiatrist who is interested in the links between the environment and mental health. Under the rubric of the psychology of place, Dr. Fullilove began to examine the mental health effects of such environmental processes as violence, rebuilding, segregation, urban renewal, and mismanaged toxins. She has published numerous articles and six books including Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out CitiesRoot Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It, and House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place.


Rodrick Wallace received an undergraduate degree in mathematics, and a PhD in physics, from Columbia University. He worked in the property insurance industry, and then as technical director of a public interest group, examining the impacts of policy and socioeconomic structure on public health, safety, and order. These efforts involved adaptation of analytic methods from ecosystem theory to the study of administrative data sets. After postdoctoral studies in the epidemiology of mental disorders, he received an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His peer reviewed publications have been largely in the social sciences and public health, with more recent books and papers focused on evolutionary process and cognition, at and across various modes, scales, and levels of organization. He is presently a Research Scientist in the Division of Epidemiology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, associated with the Columbia University Medical Center.


Havanna Fisher is a budding artist from Harlem, New York. She is a high school of  Fashion Industries graduate and a recent graduate of the New School. She received a Bachelors’ of Fine Arts for fashion design from at Parson’s School of Design as well as a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts for dance from Eugene Lang. Havanna has long been interested in using the skills and techniques that she has acquired to combine the arts with education to bring about political awareness and thus probable change within the American landscape of ideological identity.


Molly Rose Kaufman is the Provost of University of Orange.


Aubrey Murdock is the Academic Dean of University of Orange.

Urban Renewal is People Removal, 2005, Sara Booth, 23 min
Urban Renewal is People Removal brings uprooted residents together to weave a people’s history of Newark starting in the forties and continuing up until today. Urban renewal is not a thing of the past. Many large housing projects, whose construction displaced thousands, are now being torn down under the same banners that brought them into being less than 50 years ago. Written by Mindy Fullilove.


The University of Orange is a free people’s university based in Orange, NJ, that builds collective capacity for people to create equitable cities.