Event - Reviewing Renewal

Reviewing Renewal

01.11.15, 12:30 pm

A static gray, urban planning poster. At the center, in a diagonal slant, is a black and white, three-dimensional map of a housing development. In the top left,in white font, is the title “Reviewing Renewal”. In the opposite corner is the date, in white font, reading “ Jan 11 - Feb 8”. At the bottom are sponsor logos for “596 Acres”, “Partner & Partners”, and “Mapzen”.

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
All events are free. Some RSVPs required.


Sunday, January 11, 2015


12:30pm – 2pm, meet in the Queens Museum lobby
Reviewing Renewal: A Willet’s Point Walk
with Dr. Jack Eichenbaum, Queens Borough Historian


A walking tour of the Willets Point Urban Renewal area will start from, and return to, the Queens Museum. East of Citifield (the New York Mets baseball stadium) is a sewerless hardscrabble area of auto junkyards and related businesses that has twice beaten back attempts at redevelopment. But as it is located between the new stadium and a booming Chinatown in Flushing, public and private interests are again trying to transform “Willets Point.” We’ll confront ecological issues and learn why “Willets Point” is a misnomer.


Dr. Jack Eichenbaum holds the title of Queens Borough Historian, and a Ph.D. in urban geography (University of Michigan, 1972), where his dissertation was titled Magic, Mobility and Minorities in the Urban Drama. On the empirical level, it involved a study of the urban renewal of a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Detroit. He is a lifelong observer of NYC and other large cities around the world. Eichenbaum’s expertise lies particularly in quantitative methods, historical urban geography, migration, ethnicity, and technological change. More information can be found at: www.geognyc.com




2pm – 3:30pm, 2nd floor Theater
Reviewing Renewal Film Presentation
The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, 2011, Chad Freidrichs, 83 min


The Pruitt-Igoe Myth explores the social, economic and legislative issues that led to the decline of conventional public housing in America, and the city centers in which they resided, while tracing the personal and poignant narratives of several of the residents of the notorious Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex in St. Louis. More info here:








3:30pm – 4pm, Panorama
Reviewing Renewal: “Who Makes A Neighborhood?”
A reading by author DW Gibson and a film: Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden, 2011, Harvey Wang & Amy Brost, 6 min.


DW Gibson is the author of Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, and The Caravan. He has been a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and is the director of the documentary, Not Working. His next book, The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of 21st Century Gentrification, will be published in April 2015. For more information: www.dwgibson.net


Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden, 2011, Harvey Wang & Amy Brost, 6 min
In 1975, on the crime-ridden Lower East Side, Adam Purple started a garden behind his tenement home. By 1986, The Garden of Eden was world famous and had grown to 15,000 square feet. For Adam “€“ a social activist, philosopher, artist, and revolutionary “€“ the Garden was the medium of his political and artistic expression. It was razed by the city in 1986 after a protracted court battle. This film documents the creation of this artwork and its ultimate destruction. Winner of the “€œNeighborhood Award”€ at the Lower East Side Film Festival.







4pm – 6pm, panorama & 2nd floor theater
Reviewing Renewal Opening Reception


With public presentations in the panorama by the 596 Acres Urban Reviewer Team & Mapzen.