Parks, Planning, and Power
Taught by Sam Holleran
Sam Holleran is an urbanist, interdisciplinary artist, writer, and design educator. He works at the intersection of art, urban design, and civic engagement. He has researched design labs, flag culture, 19th century political cartoons, and medieval marginalia.
Sam works as a Design Educator at the Center for Architecture and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and previously worked at the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). In 2015, he was the Participatory Design Fellow with the Design Trust for Public Space, working with the Queens Museum of Art and the NYC Parks Department to engage communities surrounding the Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
New York City's parks and plazas have been central to recent debates about the ownership of public space, privatization, and park inequities. Less examined is who gets to plan parks and propose improvements for their revitalization.
This class will trace the history of New York City's parks from parade grounds to playgrounds, stopping off along the way to discuss figures like Frederick Olmsted, Calvert Vaux, and Robert Moses. We will talk about the design process for new playgrounds, trash baskets, and benches; and the complex process by which these amenities are funded.
The session will also discuss contested projects in public space, touching on Zuccotti Park, the planned Pier 55, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and several other hotly-contested spaces in the city to examine park-led-gentrification, free speech in privately-owned public spaces, and the role of renderings in shaping public opinion.