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Reading New York Urbanisms - Summer 2017

Reading new york urbanisms is a required class in the first semester of the master of science in architecture and urban design (Msaud) Program at the graduate school of architecture, planning and preservation at columbia university. The goal of the class is to introduce students to new york city as a laboratory of historical experiments in both designing and interpreting the urban environment, to provide future urban designers with the observational and representational tools to “read” the city and the multiple forces that influence its physical form and social experience. Working in groups, students created short videos documenting the sense of place in sites that ranged from infrastructural systems like grand central terminal and the gowanus canal to ethnic enclaves like chinatown and little italy. From roosevelt island to red hook, these video portraits reveal underlying urban conditions and illuminate cultural, demographic, architectural, and environmental readings of the city.

A Place of Serenity: Freshkills Park

This documentary was created to shed the light on an extraordinary place in New York and to show its natural beauty; Freshkills Park in Staten Island. Great efforts were made to transform the site from a landfill to a park, by restoring the ecology and embracing the natural processes. We revealed how the change has improved the biodiversity, brought habitats back into life and created a strong bond between the community and the neighborhood.

Fatma Mhmood
Shih Hao Liao
Xiaofei Huang

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