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Protest Urbanism

This project began with an investigation of two primary damage systems Newark has faced for over five decades: displacement and mass-incarceration targeting people of color. Protests have long been deployed as a damage control tactic in Newark, and one site that has been especially used as grounds for protest is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This contentious street is situated in between the Essex Hall of Records, Historic Courthouse, a park, and new Criminal Justice building, which symbolize Newark’s systemic damages. As an act of resilience during Black Lives Matter protests, the street was painted boldly with “Abolish White Supremacy, All Black Lives Matter.” My project intervenes by raising the streetscape to close it to vehicular traffic, creating a haven for pedestrians and enabling a democratic sphere. Underneath the raised streetscape is a program for youth struggling with parental incarceration, while the letters are given permanence as a skylight and seating system.