The ‘Walking in my Shoes’ project is a living archive that aims to document, dissect and discuss contemporary urban issues as they take place in neighborhoods and communities across New York City. The architects of the archive will be myself and the students in my courses. Students will be involved through discreet, semester-long projects developed by myself. The focal point of the projects will be housing and community development in New York City – a pivotal across the city today. These issues are particularly divisive in light of Mayor De Blasio neighborhood rezoning plan, thus our projects will focus on neighborhoods being targeted by the rezoning (East New York and the Jerome Avenue area of the Bronx).
In these neighborhoods we will be conducting place-based oral histories with ‘long-time residents’. Our interviews will focus understanding the residents life in their neighborhoods and how trends in the housing and community development markets are effecting that life – for better or worse. We imagine these narratives as providing a local and humanistic perspective on the rezoning, which may be used to further community-centered policy development in the neighborhood and beyond.
We hope that this growing compilation of histories of NYC-living will serve as a publicly-facing resource (or collection of resources) that may be of interest to community members or groups in their educational, policy or advocacy pursuits.
This project also has three underlying pedagogical goals: (1) to create avenues for self-directed and peer-directed student learning and engagement of course topics that takes place outside of the classroom, (2) to open up spaces for students to be knowers and public discussion leaders on topics of interest to themselves and their communities, and (3) to expand student’s knowledge of how digital tools can assist them in their educational, civic and future professional endeavors.
This project has recently received funding from the Teaching and Learning Center of the CUNY Graduate Center.