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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.


This video introduced Bushwick’s change in the past seven years and its influence on visitors, grafitti/street artists, and other local residents. Bushwick has witnessed a slow process of gentrification and development, which allows artists to live here in an affordable rent. Bushwick and its people refused a rapid economic growth. As is said at the beginning of the video, “it is what Bushwick is.” In this 5-minute video, people with no idea of the neighborhood will learn the past and the culture of Bushwick. Several visitors, artists, and residents has been interviewed to reveal the change and the impact.

Tian Guo
Zenan Guo
Hilary He

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