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Reading New York Urbanisms - Summer 2016

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.

The Demising Façade: Chasing Little Italies’s Authenticity in New York City

Manhattan’s Little Italy is one of the most famous cultural enclave in New York City. Behind the gleaming façade of Italian architecture, today the enclave has been struggling to preserve its authenticity as it grows into a tourism district. Meanwhile in Bronx, its emerging Little Italy continues to sustain its heritage by keeping the business humble and close to their root – family. Hence, when culture has dispersed into new places, what should we do with the old one? In this video we took a journey to Little Italies and interviewed two Italo-Americans, Manhattan’s Ernesto Rossi and Bronx’s Michael Rella.

Carmelo Ignaccolo, Dissa Raras, Jessica Adiwijaya

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