Coney Island Workshop Update

Last Tuesday, on July 15th, we kicked off the Common Streetscapes Workshop at the General Consulate of the Netherlands. After Mr. Rob de Vos, the Consul General, welcomed the 18 international participants, an introduction session was given about the Streetscape Territories framework. This workshop focuses on Coney Island and its many challenges and potentials: from an excessive focus on amusement industry in planning policies, ignoring the proper inhabitants needs and desires, to a growing unemployment, a decreasing productivity, high crime rates and overall problems of accessibility. To these challenges we need to add the threat of the rising sea level and increasingly occurring floods, as well as many problems of pollution in the Island.

IMG_20140719_095557This workshop starts from the assumption that by studying the area’s streetscapes -and above all: trying to understand by whom these are used and in which way- the complexity of this study area can be disentangled and allows suggesting multiple ways of intervening in a sustainable manner. The workshop has a strong in situ character: the group spends most of the time on the street, trying to understand how the different territories are configured, how space is used by the different groups of population. Observation and local interviews are the most important methods to analyse the urban fabric and the way its constituent spaces are appropriated. Besides this on site registration, some studio sessions are organised, each time at different locations: from the Public Library in Brooklyn, to the General Consulate of the Netherlands, from the Flanders House New York to the Municipal Art Society Library. As well, some more improvised session occur, where we occupy the stairs in front of a public building, sit under a beach canopy or sit and talk in a park in the area. During each session, some professionals or local stakeholders join: like Stuart Pertz (Pratt Institute), Beth Bingham and Erik Wyche (Partnerships in Parks, Pratt Institute) who help us to frame the project coherently and correctly.

To be continued…

IMG-20140715-WA013Representatives of the Dutch and Flemish Government welcomed the participants.

IMG-20140715-WA014Introduction to the Common Streetscapes theme.

IMG_20140715_130818Visit to a few galleries in Chelsey to introduce guidelines about representation and way of defining resolution to the projects.

IMG_20140715_124716Conversations with present artists (Hank Blaustein, Blue Mountain Gallery)

IMG_20140715_134107A train ride to Coney Island.

IMG_20140717_151210F train viaduct defining a commercial streetscape.

Research session at the Municipal Art Society New York.

IMG-20140717-WA001Discussion session at Coney Island, right below the Parachute Tower.

IMG_20140719_124201Exploring the Kaiser Park at Coney Island Creek.

IMG_20140717_081728Drawing the Coney Island Boardwalk (by Kris Scheerlinck)

IMG_20140718_124543Round table session at the Flanders House New York.

IMG_20140718_112829Conversation with local stakeholders at the Flanders House.

IMG_20140718_112813IMG_20140718_112823Conversations at the Flanders House.



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