Eco-Living Magazine

New Exhibit at MoMA Highlights Reimagined Suburbs

Posted on the 14 February 2012 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

New Exhibit at MoMA Highlights Reimagined SuburbsOn Wednesday February 15th, a new exhibit will open at the Modern Museum of Art (MoMA) in Manhattan. Running through the end of July, this installation looks at how to reconstitute the suburbs in a more integrated fashion. In other words, scrap the current plan. Titled “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream” the project “is an exploration of new architectural possibilities for cities and suburbs in the aftermath of the recent foreclosure crisis.”

This exhibit represents the work of architects, urban planners, ecologists, engineers, and landscape designers. In the first iteration of the suburbs, these five groups did not communicate, leading to the current situation. According to the MoMa, the collaborative effort is a response to The Buell Hypothesis, which “examines the cultural assumptions underlying the ‘American Dream’ in the context of the foreclosure crisis, suburban sprawl, and the architectural public sphere.”

Stroll through the suburbs (if there are sidewalks or anything is accessible by foot) and the uniformity, lack of retail space, and absence of food markets is readily apparent. Many of the proposals in the installation look to rectify the discontinuity between the suburbs and ecology. Undoubtedly, several of the New Urbanist ideals of mixed use neighborhoods, shunned during the explosive growth over the past decades, will be featured prominently in the renderings. As part of the festivities, there is a two day symposium (which has recently been added to our calendar). The topics will include “Urbanism and Ecology”, “Ecology, Social Justice, and Community Involvement”, and “Public Health” among others.

As Jeanne Gang and Greg Lindsay point out in their New York Times op-ed piece, zoning codes are inimical to many of the policies that allow for redevelopment – not growth. They cite the Chicago suburb of Cicero, Illinois. Issues facing Cicero are “typical of most suburbs, including the segregation of residential, commercial and industrial facilities; prohibitions on expanding and reusing buildings for new homes and businesses; and tight restrictions on mixed-use properties. Cicero’s code also defines ‘family’ in a way that excludes the large, multigenerational groupings now common across the country.” By redefining these codes to allow for development of underutilized property, the suburbs can become a thriving community that reuses structures and reimagines them as beneficial to humanity, instead of the abandoned structures that currently exist on the outskirts of cities across the US.

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