Informed by in-depth meetings with local residents and practitioners, Dept of Small Interventions is pursuing arts-based and history-inspired development projects in Newburgh, NY. The goal is to contribute to the revitalization efforts by promoting the city's assets while building its capacity, collaborations, and participation.
Photo Credit: Found Postcard
Building shells, weathered by years of neglect and water damage, have become hazardous, an eye sore, a safety concern, a municipal burden, and depress property values. With each year that building shells stay on the market, the hope for contributing to the tax base diminishes. And with each passing year, the damage makes the rehabilitation more unlikely.
Governor Cuomo has replaced the State's top-down, "one-size fits all" approach to economic development with one that is regionally-based, bottom-up, and performance-driven. As a result, there may more reliance on private investments to rebuild distressed properties and thwart zombie homes.
In a city like Newburgh that has close to 10% of its building stock vacant, how does a city disrupt this downward spiral cycle and attract this private investment? The City of Newburgh Vacant Property Revitalization Program, last updated in 2014, outlines different strategies to identify and repurpose vacancies. What has been the general progress and outcomes? What issues still persists or new constraints that stall redevelopment? What has been the role of ordinary citizens and neighborhood associations in furthering this program?
In this preliminary stage, DoSI has partnered with architect and structural engineers firms to better understand the process of stabilizing these properties and the policies and codes that govern the rehabilitation of these structures. DoSI proposes a creative interim approach to these building shells that stabilizes the building and the corridor while providing public space and other desired uses until full rehabilitation can be done.
Stay tuned for project updates and partners.
Photo: Stephen Zacks
In 1870, Frederick Douglass traveled through the Hudson Valley delivering a speech that endorsed the ratification of the 15th Amendment, providing the right for African Americans to vote. Specifically, on August 11, Frederick Douglass came to Newburgh and delivered his speech at the Opera House, a now demolished historic structure.
It is rumored that Douglass also visited and gave a sermon to AME Zion Church, making this oldest African American church in Newburgh, if not the entire Hudson Valley, an important building. Douglass’ impassioned speech was followed by a Jubilee March that attracted over 4,000 persons to Newburgh's East End.
In an effort to creatively commemorate the 150th anniversary and the legacy of Frederick Douglass, a group of engaged individuals and institutions are planning a multi-part city-wide project, starting in Fall 2018. The project’s goal is to create programs that can address several long-standing local issues. Goals include building local leadership through fellowships, strengthening African-American cultural tourism, and increasing voter registration/civic engagement.
Project partners include Black History Committee of Hudson Valley, The Restorative Center, Newburgh Black Pioneers, Historical Society of Newburgh & the Highlands, Dept of Small Interventions, The Fullerton Center, Orange County Historical Society, My Brother's Keeper, Newburgh Preservation Association, Thornwillow Press.
Stay tuned for upcoming programs.
Urban Archive is a location-based mobile platform that empowers New Yorkers to learn about history where it happened. After approaching the co-founder, Ben Smyth, about expanding to the Hudson Valley, Newburgh will be the first city in the region to digitize its archives to the platform.
In the spirit of collaboration, Urban Archive brings together the digital collections of Newburgh’s archives and libraries in an easy-to-use resource built for public discovery and appreciation.
Project partners include Newburgh Historical Society, Newburgh Free Library, Southeastern Library Resource Council. Other public and private archives and collections are welcome to join this effort. Please email us to join.
Read more about the app here.
Photo Credit: Urban Archive NYC
The Newburgh Free Library, serving about 60,000 people is sited in one of the lowest income census districts New York State. The City of Newburgh was until recently the “Detroit of the Hudson Valley” an appellation perhaps unwarranted but was out there. However, over the past three years the City of Newburgh has undergone a renaissance as New Yorkers have discovered the abundant historic architecture, lots of un- or underutilized industrial buildings, access to the Hudson Valley recreational areas and more.
This has positioned the Library in a unique role to respond to this neighborhood change and bring the community closer together while also addressing other longstanding issues. The library seeks:
o To reconnect with the people in our service area that have left the city and are reluctant to return.
o To serve a population that needs access to education and reading opportunities.
o To convey to the (new and existing) residents the new resources that a library has and can provide.
In collaboration with Pratt Institute's Design Corps, we seek to address the service challenges of the library through communication design and audience development and engagement workshop(s). The will ultimately inform a larger goal of a spatial redesign project for the Library's interiors.
Photo Credit: Barak Pliskin
Located in the green East End District, The Fullerton Mansion Center for Culture & History revives the William S Fullerton mansion’s grandeur by hosting cultural programs, promoting historical discourse, and offering its facilities for public events in Newburgh.
As the Board of Directors, we seek to open the historic venue to more outside organizations and individuals interested in hosting a public or private event in the impeccably restored Victorian mansion. From author reading to music recitals to not for profit annual meetings, The Fullerton Center offers four distinct indoor spaces: the library, the music room, the dining room, and the sun room, and the large lawn for outdoor events for your event. We seek to add to the cultural momentum of Newburgh by providing an affordable space and platform for creatives.
To be considered, submit this questionnaire at https://goo.gl/forms/P3SNhdws5bTOXIVf1
Photo Credit: Michael Green
In identifying a missing committee in the American Planning Association NY Metro Chapter's structure, the Arts & Culture Committee was founded to amplify the value of arts and culture in the planning field to achieve economic, social, environmental, and quality of life goals. The committee's main work has been to organize events and network opportunities but also provide education, strategy, and guidance for incorporating arts and culture into policy and development initiatives in the New York area.
Events organized include: Annual conferences such as CreateNYC featuring DCA Commissioner Finkelpearl and Chicago's Cultural Chief Julie Burros and Implementing Digital Technologies in the Public Realm featuring Civic Hall Labs, Civic Design Data Lab at MIT, Participatory Budgeting Project and NAVA PBC
Tete-a-Tete series focused on planner and artists working together. Examples are Building Cultural Equity in Brownsville, Freshkills Park, Project for Public Spaces, LES BID's 100 Gates; NYC DOT Mural projects.
Field Trips and Walking tours like Los Sures Walking Tour & Film Screening and Constellation at Bannerman Island.
More coming soon.