The Power Broker: The Movie! Motherless Brooklyn and Villainy in the Planning World

By Evan King Recently, I went with two of my classmates to the Chapel Hill premier of Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton’s new noir drama, featuring Jane Jacobs in all her sharp-witted, bespectacled glory, and Robert Moses as a fully-fledged Hollywood villain. It felt like an obvious choice for me, as a planning student, but I really had to wonder how fans of the original book … Continue reading The Power Broker: The Movie! Motherless Brooklyn and Villainy in the Planning World

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Seeing Race in the City’s Structure

We typically do not use literature for city planning texts, but Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) deserves careful consideration. Ellison weaves a narrative through New York City’s urban spatial structure to map how race is physically built into the city’s neighborhood composition, street networks, and utilities. Using the binary of invisible versus visible, Ellison defines invisibility as the African-American experience of being isolated explicitly and … Continue reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Seeing Race in the City’s Structure

Street Seats: a student-designed parklet in NYC

On the corner of New York City’s 13th Street and 5th Avenue, hundreds of people use the sidewalk adjacent to The New School University Center every day. For a university in Manhattan, “campus” is a loose term that defines the parts of the city traversed by its students. Union Square Park—a magnet of public life—is a proximate and popular space for students and faculty to relax outside, … Continue reading Street Seats: a student-designed parklet in NYC

A Streetcar Named de Blasio

Two months ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio debuted a proposal for a streetcar line that would link the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts. His announcement was welcomed by many, as it addresses the inequities of travel around New York City. As denizens of the city are well aware, commuting to and from the Manhattan central business district is easy and convenient, but inter and intra-commuting between … Continue reading A Streetcar Named de Blasio