Th 29 Oct 09
Open City Lecture and Debate:
Roberta Brandes Gratz
Lecture by author, journalist and activist Roberta Brandes Gratz (US) about the works of author and city activist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006), and the significance of her ideas on the Open City for todays city.
Roberta Brandes Gratz is an award-winning journalist and urban critic, lecturer and author of The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way, and Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown. She is an international lecturer on urban development issues and former reporter for the New York Post
Gratz was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in February 2003.
Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Tikkun, Planning Magazine, New York Newsday, the Daily News, Planning Commissioners Journal and others. Her writing had been translated into Japanese, Russian, Czech, German and Polish. She travels frequently all over the U.S., Central Europe and Great Britain to lecture and consult on urban revitalization issues.
Recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Surdna Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Fannie Mae Foundation, and writing awards from the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, Municipal Art Society, the New York Press Club, the City Club of New York and others.
Gratz serves Vice-President of the Salzburg Conference on Urban Planning and Development; founder and President Emeritus of the Eldridge Street Project, an effort to restore the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side and establish a Jewish Heritage Center on the site; a founder and current board member of the Writers Room, the first urban writers' colony in the country; and a Trustee of the Village of Ocean Beach.
Gratz was a member of the New York Governor's and Mayor's Task Force on Planning Manhattan's West Side Highway and Waterfront, she formerly served as head of Public Policy of the New York State Preservation League, and she founded the Fire Island Historical Society. She is a native and resident of New York City.
Gratz calls for a more flexible approach to urban rejuvenation: urban husbandry - the notion of shaping a city's growth and revitalization incrementally, piece by piece, slowly, organically, and with individual components. Rather than rebuilding and replacing downtown areas with large-scale development, such as convention centers, stadiums, and other blockbuster projects, urban husbandry recognizes the inherent value in the existing built environment and promotes the care, management, and preservation of urban neighborhoods. By illustrating the advantages of low-cost, modest initiatives, Gratz demonstrates that rebuilding authentic places, reconnecting communities and stimulating innovative change are within everyone's reach.
Auditorium, NAI - 8.00 pm
€ 5 / € 3 / IABR passe-partout - in English