In the long months of the COVID-19 lockdown, many citizens have found their cities emptied of human presence and transformed into places of eerie unfamiliarity. Conversely, this experience has allowed many of us to freshly appreciate the architectural achievements that our cities are made of. Meanwhile, the protests following the Black Lives Matter movement and the boarding up of entire neighborhoods brought to the fore questions of ownership and inequity, and the way architectural monuments work as markers of capital.
Taking some of the most prominent built, and unbuilt, examples of New York City’s skyline and urban fabric as a cue, New York, Open City explores a selection of projects—from the UN Secretariat and Seagram Buildings, to MoMA’s expanded campus and the High Line, to unrealized projects from the 1960s, including one for the “Instant Slum Clearance” of Harlem—which will allow us to ask what these approaches mean in a moment when New York is looking once again for a more equitable future.
For a closer look at the issues raised by New York, Open City—part of our Virtual Views series—join MoMA curator Martino Stierli, architect Elizabeth Diller, and architect and scholar Mabel O. Wilson for a live Q&A on Thursday, July 30, at 8:00 p.m. EDT.