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Pushing past 2020: Looking for Equitable Solutions to Post Covid New York City

May 3 – May 17, 2021
Across New York City
Research Question

With a year of protests against racial injustice, police brutality, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human health and the economy, New York City is witnessing a decline that is generating concern about whether it will recover. The City weathered downturns from the 1950s to the 1980s, when the population dropped as a result of white flight and ill-conceived urban-renewal projects. But COVID-19 in New York, the city with the deadliest outbreak has heightened the fear of density and led many city dwellers to work remotely while posing questions - once unthinkable: do we need cities, do we need New York City?

Now that the horizon of vaccines appears to be on the verge of bringing an end to social distancing restrictions, will the City come back to normal? Will this be an opportunity to rethink urban architecture and streetscapes for more pedestrian use? Will swaths of empty office buildings be repurposed as residential buildings? Will climate change and the reduction of long commutes lead to Anne Hildalgo’s “15-minute city” where all people can access daily needs within a short walk or bike ride? Will new and renovated affordable housing become socially equitable to ensure that all types of people are able to live and work there with access to broadband internet, fresh food, public health, and economic growth? Will public spaces become smart and flexible to accommodate all of the City’s needs?


Our methodology included lectures and discussions with NYC officials along with community and business leaders. Contacts included the New York Economic Development Corporation, New York City Planning Commission, New York City Housing Preservation and Development, and Multifamily Affordable Housing Developers.

Students conducted interviews with civic leaders and visited new affordable multifamily development projects focused on equity, environmental justice, and sustainability.

Output and findings
The two-week workshop focused on interpretive comparative and quantitative collaged images that narrate New York City’s approach to environmental equity and post-COVID response urban living solutions. The collages were printed as provocative posters.


Other 2021 workshops

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Envisioning Climate: A Virtual Reality Workshop
May 17 – May 28, 2021
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Other Natures
Across New York City
May 17 – May 28, 2021
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Building Biography: A Living Archive of Columbia GSAPP
Across New York City
May 12 – May 26, 2021
Model Fictions
Across New York City
May 5 – May 17, 2021
Multigenerational Housing for New York City
Across New York City
May 3 – May 17, 2021
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An Atlas of Dust
Across New York City
May 3 – May 14, 2021
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New Paradigms of Residual Space
Across New York City
May 3 – May 14, 2021
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Streets for People
Across New York City
May 3 – May 14, 2021