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Great Migration + Memorial Highway: Designing public infrastructure and community investment
In the Fall of 2021, a dozen students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design began work in tandem with a dozen residents of New Rochelle to consider challenges facing the historic Black neighborhoods affected by the dramatic growth and redevelopment of the city’s downtown.
An exhibition of their collaborative work will be held during Black History Month in the lobby of the New Rochelle Public Library, and the public is welcome.
The design studio course, led by Harvard faculty instructors and practicing professionals, became an unusual local collaboration between students and community, engaged as it was in active planning, cultural storytelling and systems thinking as a way to surface ideas for investment in community development and public infrastructure in the Lincoln Avenue Corridor.
The collaborative results are eight specific projects of urban design, landscape and architecture, development and policy ideas focused on community health, cultural exchange and memory, food access, affordable housing, public mobility and safety, and re-building a local economy.
Specific projects are:
• Know Thyself: Unforgetting Black heritage
• The Lincoln Avenue Cookbook: Recipes for addressing food access and cultural continuity
• Designing Revitalization: Making way for a Black circular economy
• Trust Loop: A framework for affordable transportation
• Surfacing Counter Memories: Harnessing the power of counter memories held by Black New Rochelleans
• Opportunity Co-op: Home as a living spectrum • Dream Bus: A children’s book addressing social issues imbued in riding the school bus
• Bracing Peter Bracey: Community development through housing design
The exhibit will walk through the design studio’s process, starting with an introduction and brief history of the Black community in New Rochelle. A video of this history is also available online,. The exhibit organizes and details the studio’s eight projects into three themes: A Place of Resonance, A Community with Roots, and A Place of Change and will also include models and promotional materials the students created with which to share their projects broadly.
The exhibit will be on display from February 5 to March 3, in the lobby of the New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle, NY. The public is invited. Library hours are 9:00 am to 8:00 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Wednesdays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sunday. Please check the NRPL website for announcements and any change in hours.
Bring your smart phones! QR codes are embedded to activate videos and slide shows with rich design detail, local history and memories of the residents and their families growing up and living in New Rochelle’s historic Black neighborhoods of Lincoln Avenue and Pugsley Hollow. For information, please email Anne Zahner at GreatMigrationStudio@gmail.co