October 20, 2014

The Accidental Playground: Brooklyn Waterfront Narratives of the Undesigned and Unplanned

past event

Recap

On October 20, Penn IUR hosted a discussion with Daniel Campo, Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at Morgan State University in Baltimore and former planner for the New York City Department of City Planning. Campo elaborated on his recent book,The Accidental Playground: Brooklyn Waterfront Narratives of the Undesigned and Unplanned (Fordham University Press, 2013). The Accidental Playground explores the remarkable landscape created by individuals and small groups who occupied and rebuilt an abandoned Brooklyn waterfront. While local residents, activists, garbage haulers, real estate developers, speculators, and two city administrations fought over the fate of the former Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal (BEDT), others simply took to this decaying edge, transforming it into a unique venue for leisure, creative, and everyday practices. These occupiers and do-it-yourself builders created their own waterfront parks and civic spaces absent every resource needed for successful urban development, including plans, designs, capital, professional assistance, consensus, and permission from the waterfront's owners. Amid trash, ruins, weeds, homeless encampments, and the operation of an active garbage transfer station, they inadvertently created the "Brooklyn Riviera" and made this waterfront a destination that offered much more than its panoramic vistas of the Manhattan skyline. Drawing on a rich mix of documentary strategies, including observation, ethnography, photography, and first-person narrative, Daniel Campo probes this accidental playground, allowing those who created it to share and examine their own narratives, perspectives, and conflicts. Co-sponsored by Penn Design’s Department of City and Regional Planning.

 

 

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