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Exploring Elsewhere

The Institute launched Elsewhere with four days of festival-style programs on November 12–17, 2013, at the Institute and select venues throughout New York City. With offerings including performances, conversations, tours, installations, and workshops, the fall lineup engaged a diverse range of topics to provoke, enlighten, question, and critically examine the ideas of Elsewhere.

Events

The Footprint of Escape
November 17th, 2013

We paired an urban field game with a discussion of the past, present, and future of escape in the city. Brent D. Ryan, Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy at MIT; Jeffrey Shumaker, Deputy Chief Urban Designer for the City of New York; Elihu Rubin, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Yale University; and Gabrielle Esperdy, Associate Professor of Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, examined the fluctuating perceptions of the city’s relationship to escape—tracking its evolution from 19th-century land of opportunity, to 20th-century land of urban flight, and on to today’s megalopolis as a place that people escape to, from, and within.

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Cities, Not Nations?
November 17th, 2013

In the face of networked societies and economies that defy national borders, some argue that cities are superseding nations in their ability to address our most pressing challenges: the need for environmental sustainability, the provision of key resources and services, and the maintenance of effective governance. We heard from Dr. Benjamin Barber, political theorist and author of If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities; Vishaan Chakrabarti, architect, planner, and author of A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America; and Alexandros Washburn, Urban Design Chief of New York City and author of The Nature of Urban Design: A New York Perspective of Resilience in a conversation exploring the political, economic, and cultural potential of cities as sites of problem-solving and innovation.

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Debt, Design, Displacement
November 16th, 2013

New York City is a place where one in three children live in poverty, and where more than 50,000 citizens sleep in homeless shelters. Increasingly, middle- and low-income citizens find it close to impossible to secure a home, often thwarted by spiraling debt and the encroachment of real-estate speculation.

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Let There be Light
November 16th, 2013

For many city-dwellers, connecting with the splendor of the night sky demands an escape from the ever brightly lit landscape of the built environment. This evening event unpacked the complex issues of urban lighting, investigating the impact of light pollution on human well-being and ecological systems, and exploring how light and dark influence our perception of place.

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We Live with Animals
November 15th, 2013

We Live with Animals was an installation developed by Catherine Seavitt and Denise Hoffman-Brandt that uncovered and compiled surprising tales of human and animal interaction in the city. The evening of storytelling featured performers including artist Aki Sasamoto, 18-time MOTH StorySLAM champion Adam Wade, multimedia artist Tamar Ettun, veteran news photographer John Roca, visual and performing artist Pat Oleszko, and Animal Care & Control of NYC Executive Director Risa Weinstock, who explored the relationship between animals and humans in the urban realm—exotic and domestic, hidden and in plain sight.

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An Evening of Escape
November 12th, 2013

We hosted an evening of performances, talks, and reflections to celebrate the launch of Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape, our exploration of escape in the urban environment.

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