The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) is the largest undeveloped city-owned parcel of land south of 96th Street, and it has been a contested site since it was cleared for “renewal” more than 40 years ago. Covering five vacant lots between Delancey and Grand Street, it borders the area adjacent to the Abrons Arts Center. Many different communities claim this site, and imagine divergent futures for it.
A new exhibition by the New School’s City Studio, (Re)Visiting SPURA, explores a whole range of ways to see this complex place, through considering the SPURA diaspora, displaced many years ago, its current conditions, and the complex conversations about planning for its future, this exhibition springs from the City Studio’s research in the community and hopes to continue encouraging productive conversation about the site’s future.
The 2011 City Studio creators of (Re)Visiting SPURA are Matthew Fujibayashi, Joshua Guerra, Jaclyn Hersh, Sohee Kim, Corey Mullee, Amy Nguyen, David Privat-Gilman,Ian Pugh, and Matthew Taylor, in collaboration with New School Urban Studies faculty member Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani. For the past three years, Bendiner-Viani has taught the City Studio class to consider this contested site and its history, while stressing engagement with the community planning process and the multiple Lower East Side communities. City Studio has partnered with Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), the Pratt Center for Community Development, common room, and the Abrons Arts Center.