Theory, place, and opportunity : black urbanism as a design strategy for the potential removal of the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans
Black urbanism as a design strategy for the potential removal of the Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
MetadataShow full item record
As WEB DuBois notes in his seminal work, The Souls of Black Folk, "it is a peculiar sensation, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of the world that looks on in amused contempt and pity [...]." The Black person wishes to merge the double-consciousness, but "would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American...". And, hence, it is within this space, in the chasm created by double-consciousness, within which Black Urbanism aims to draw from. A Black Urbanism discourse assumes there is a latent genius in that space, untapped by contemporary design and planning literature and practice. My thesis aims to develop a theory of "Black Urbanism," and derive a set of employable design principles. Black communities contribute greatly to the liveliness and culture of cities, however, their contributions are seldom engaged meaningfully by planners/designers; the framework is intended to fold Black Urban principles into a larger understanding of how cities function and thrive and to develop a tool not only for analysis, but also for the active role of designing new spaces. In light of the search for a sustainable urbanism, the retrofitting of America's urban landscapes offers a major opportunity to apply this approach, as much of what is considered "wasted landscape" may be disproportionately located in communities of color. I explore the history of the federal interstate system, its disproportionate construction in Black neighborhoods, and the growing argument for the removal of elevated expressways in cities' urban core. In New Orleans, the Claiborne Expressway, a spur off of Interstate 10 planned by Robert Moses, runs through the heart of what is considered America's first Black neighborhood, and the neighborhood that birthed jazz. I explore the local manifestations of Black Urbanism on the street and describe the opportunities for a Black Urban design strategy to revive the sense of place and scale should the freeway be removed.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 116-123).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.