Gabrielle interviewed in Public Seminar

A great new interview with Gabrielle by Julia Foulkes in Public Seminar - on everything from disinvestment, to visual urbanism, to the possibilities of art, and the vagaries of social practice.

Here’s an excerpt - read the rest here.

JF: You have a unique set of skills and experiences — an artist with deep knowledge of design; a scholar with a doctorate in environmental psychology; an activist with community organizations; and a life-long New Yorker. They all seem to be part of what you call “visual urbanism.” Could you explain this approach to understanding and acting in the city?

GB-V: You could say that visual urbanism is the term I coined to explain to other people how all my jobs and life experiences make sense in my own head as interwoven parts of one commitment to understanding people and the meaning that places hold for them. It is also a way of working that argues that creative practices can be a way of knowing, belonging as part of urban research because they help us pose questions we might not otherwise know to ask. For me, this practice is also one that struggles against the often-uneasy relationship between text and image, and between imagination and fact. I am trying to create spaces, projects, and research where these ways of knowing are equal: the text does not caption an image, the image does not illustrate a text. Images, words, feelings, and histories are experienced together, each bringing a new facet of understanding or new voice to a conversation. I’m interested in this work as something that can act in the world, that can build on the accessibility of images to spur conversations and action in our complicated cities, neighborhoods, and homes.

Contested City book launch, Feb 12 : RSVP here!

Join us for the Contested City book launch! Free and open to the public!
Please RSVP on eventbrite here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
The New School, Theresa Lang Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10011

Join urbanist, artist, and New School professor Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani to celebrate the launch of her book Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

Revealing the untold stories of fifty years of community activism at the controversial Seward Park Urban Renewal Area on New York’s Lower East Side — now the site of the mega-development Essex Crossing — ContestedCity sheds light on the importance of collaborative creative public projects in this complex place. Bridging art, design, activism, and urban history, this is a book for everyone who seeks to make their own city more just.

Ada Calhoun, author of St. Marks Is Dead, says of Contested City: “This underdeveloped piece of downtown Manhattan has long confounded New Yorkers. With scholarly rigor and deep respect for community, Dr. Bendiner-Viani uncovers its secrets at last. Her research has resonance for controversial ‘urban renewal’ projects everywhere.”

The evening will feature a presentation by Gabrielle, along with reflections from her long-time collaborators Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) and Tito Delgado, former SPURA resident and SPARC member. Join us for the conversation, the book-signing, and the celebration of the past and future of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.

This event is sponsored by the Urban Studies department at The New School.

For more on the book:

Listen to Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani interviewed about Contested City on WNYC’s All of It with Alison Stewart

For review copies/media inquiries, contact Allison T Means, University of Iowa Press:


Gabrielle interviewed on the Holistic Housing Show

In the 17th episode of the Holistic Housing Show, Charlie’s Angels are joined by Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, author of the recently-released Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at New York’s Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Gabrielle shares how she and her students from the New School utilized art and dialogue to engage with residents, governments, nonprofits and other partners to re-envision NYC’s SPURA area after over 40 years of displacement, demolition and stagnation. Her book asks, how can we create a public planning ecosystem where people can disagree, with respect?