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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 Chinatown that people don’t know - A city within a city

Where, why, what, who, how,
Our project focuses on Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, as the prime Chinese enclave in New York City.

Chinatown functions as ‘a city within city’. It is read as a neighborhood, people have based their lives here, making it a centre for utilities for chinese community from medicare to schools. The process attempts to understand the underlying markers that made it survive as a self-sufficient community area despite of the homogeneous development around in the city.

Different outlooks to build a dynamic image of the neighborhood-
● Alex Ho, as an educator working in Museum of Chinese American // talks about the historical aspect of Chinatown in laying out strong roots for it to survive.
● Anna_resident from China //lived in Chinatown for 2 months //compares the spread to an actual city in China.
● Mei_Chinatown local for 30 years //shares genius loci of the area and local lives.
● Linda and Howard_ tourist from Miami //visualize Chinatown as a typical chinese city with amazing food, herbs, teas etc.

Yuting Pan
Vrinda Sharma
Yiran Hu

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