The museum as agent of participatory planning : the Queens Museum of Art engages an immigrant neighborhood
Author(s)Garz, Jessica Beth
Queens Museum of Art engages an immigrant neighborhood
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Xavier de Souza Briggs.
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In neighborhoods facing demographic shifts, like changes in ethnicity, class and language, resident participation in state-sponsored planning processes can be difficult due to unfamiliarity, mistrust or cultural misalignment between residents and existing planning agents. This is particularly true in neighborhoods with large populations of new immigrants, where residents do not only face language barriers, long working hours and a general unfamiliarity with local planning processes, but are also prone to face cultures of discrimination or self-induce exclusion for fear of legal action to shaky residency status. In this thesis I ask how can a cultural institution include new immigrants in participatory artist-led, neighborhood-based processes that ultimately connect to state-sponsored planning efforts? Specifically, how can a museum tie together independent participatory artist-led projects in a meaningful and impactful manner? Through a primarily case study of the Queens Museum of Art (QMA) located in New York City, I illustrate how with the specific goals of incorporating the voices of new immigrants in the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) renovation project in Corona Plaza, the museum was able to facilitate a collaborative participatory process that engaged multiple actors in an open and dynamic manner. I situate the case within the literatures of participation, from planning and art, in order to present various perspectives on the meaning, value and limitations of participation. Drawing from the literature, 1 highlight how without a clear declaration of long-term goals, QMA may face difficulty maintaining the commitment and participation of residents and may face questions of legitimacy in their community-based work in Corona. Following a general discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of a civil society institution involving itself in the political realm, I conclude that with a clear set of goals and with an acknowledgement of their own capacity limitations, museums can facilitate collaborative and dynamic participatory processes that overcome limitations of formulaic government-led processes and promote the planning of inclusive and equitable neighborhoods.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 57-61).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.