Perfect City: Avoidance Mapping

Avoidance Mapping is a social exercise and workshop that makes our invisible knowledge about the city visible. How do you belong when you move through a place? What protects us in the city, and how does our need for protection change depending on our age, race, ability, gender or size? We’ll ask you to make maps of something you avoid as you go through your day in New York City. We’ll discuss our maps together and talk about new ways we can make cities inclusive for everyone. Perfect City has used Avoidance Mapping with city officials, urban planners and architects, artists and shelter residents.


Formed in 2016, Perfect City is a 20-year art and advocacy working group looking at gentrification, gender equity and urban planning. Housed at Abrons Arts Center through a PATHS social practice residency, we create performances, walking tours and public conversations, teach workshops in colleges, community centers and women’s shelters, and write for architecture and urban studies journals. Our work starts with a series of community agreements that lets newcomers and working group members participate with real depth and safety. Formed by theater artist Aaron Landsman, Perfect City is collectively run with young artists and organizers Tyler Diaz, Jahmorei Snipes and Tiffany Zorrilla. Our founding principle is that people who grow up in cities are the ones best suited to plan more equitable futures, but that gentrification’s policy and design priorities hold marginalized city-dwellers back from creating those futures. 


Perfect City is supported by an Abrons Arts Center, and has been funded by the Jerome, Rubin and Graham Foundations, individual donors, LMCC, Princeton University and Confident Futures, a research project in New York and Amsterdam.

Photo by Sinday Iganza