Seasons Greetings! January Project Update


Seasons Greetings

…and a happy new year! Our team just wrapped up its first winter/spring planning session – in fact it was our first meeting. Below we’ve outlined the progress and prospects for our on-going projects. We feel transparency in a project such as this is important and will continue posting periodic updates on the progress of our work. Please feel free to contact us with suggestions, concerns, or if you’re interested in joining our efforts. We hope to hear from you soon!

Walking Interviews from East New York and Cypress Hills: This past semester I worked with students in my Environmental Psychology course at the New School to collect oral histories from residents of East New York and Cypress Hills. This area is the first neighborhood to undergo a neighborhood rezoning under Mayor De Blasio’s affordable housing plan. The rezoning has been met with resistance from the community, and our interviews aimed to get an insider’s perspective on how residents think the rezoning will affect them and their community. We also aimed to investigate the relationship between the community and neighborhood, and how the changes set to take place in the community may affect residents on a deeper level. Of a list of 10 residents provided by our community partner, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, we were able to speak with five residents. From these interviews we have amassed audio, images, and video that document this conversation. Over the next two months, our team will curate, synthesize and analyze this content and share it on our website and via social media. We also aim to speak with 5-10 more residents of these communities.

Image Source: MMZach

Histories of Housing from Jerome Avenue: A 73 block area around and along Jerome Avenue is another neighborhood being targeted for rezoning in accordance with the City’s affordable housing plan. This rezoning has not been approved yet, and the community has been organizing in an attempt to inform how and if the rezoning unfolds. We are interested in speaking with longer time residents about their thoughts and perspectives on the rezoning, as well as longer histories of housing. We plan to meet residents at the the Bronx Coalition meetings (first Thursday of every Month at 1501 Jerome Avenue, 6-8pm). Our hope is to create a public art project from these interviews – that will be housed on our website, but also potentially have a physical presence somewhere (a community event?), with the aim of informing how the rezoning plays out. We aim to conduct interviews with residents beginning in March. This content will be accompanied by a community profile of the neighborhoods being targeted for rezoning, and analysis and synthesis of themes across the narratives. Material from this research will be presented at the annual conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). We are currently in the process of applying for approval from the Institutional Review Board. We hope to have approval by the beginning of March. In the meantime, we will build out the community profile and consider how best to curate the information.

Urban Studies 101 Archive: In the coming semester, I will continue having students contribute content to a growing archive on urban studies. We will continue building out the glossary, only this time it will be offered as an assignment rather than extra credit – and the deliverable product will be more standardized to create a streamlined aesthetic. I am also planning the final assignment to be the creation of a digital knowledge-sharing tool on one of the content areas covered in the 2nd half of the course (housing affordability and community development, criminal justice, immigration policy, public space, etc.). More details coming as this develops!

Our next planning/working session is on January 19th. Soon after that we hope to have some interview content to share and the beginning of some synthesis and analysis.

More updates soon!

Wishing you all the best in the coming year – Happy New Year!


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