Page 1



with no sign of nalural ciltastrophes. no local p",mis;;o9 real arthitedural work, ilnd State to don his mask of empathy and generosity. 'pp',,,o' good fortune. it is perhaps more discussion and debate.


modest organizations like ours, and I would Ii luis Hoyos. Deborah Murphy ilnd Julie Silliman As part of the atnlinuous evolution of the Burnell-Stuart. and nnie (hu to the Boa~d. series of the year, '路Inside Oul: (rilical Issues i


and Interior Desi9n.- The three panel Ar{hitecture/lnterior Oesign.~ "Gender and (hi'''''''' and the Domestic in (ontemporary continue its annual '"Out There Doing It'" series. and related disciplines. The Forum is grateful for the use til Sthindler's Kings Road house

It! announce, with the generous support of MaCA.

of the complete archi", of films and videos

,,,,',w,d on the West CtIasl,lhese screenings and


on our symposillfP lIrban Design. U't"nTh'''''~ Ulrl""'1 i the MaCA Ar~ iteClure and Design Council in 1995)

to be published hy Monacelli Press. Entitled Everyday "'"9''''' Crawford and former forum Board members John next publication. entitled Wrapper, Is II series of facade stu,d;,,; 1,/II~ I!us,"m ~",ss;i<T'''h'''I''9Y by Robert Mangurian ilnd Mary-Ann Ray. Essays will be I by David the Museum's founder, and Ralph RUgDff, <luihot' 01 Wrapper is funded in part by a Graham Foundation grant. and will and distributed worldwide through a nl!W publishing collaboration of Santa Monica. newsletter will COnlinue to be published !hree times a year, and we are pl'nnin~ add interviews,. book reviews. and a calendar in addition to the regular essays We welcome unsolicited material for either the nemleller or the p.;,phl'~ Also. the forum is soon entering the virtual world, fashionably late, with a P'!l,",h;;,:h wililisl events. publications. and merchandise, as well as provide an archive of material from our newsletter. are very few organizations like the forum in the country. and we need F,mbml,'p 'ro continue our ongOing conversation on architecture and urbanism in los Angeles has often been called the prototypical post-industrial "", wilN sprawling morphology and concomitant social problems. The los Angeles at the close of !he twentieth century reflect larger questions of ~'''"~'''d urbanism around the globe. We hope you will support the Forum (OTd to ilS dialogues through your partkipalion and membership.


quo""",,, 'h''':'''i ",d

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the D Wnppen,.nltce the '990".

As a rt'sponse to a huge media campaign on the homeless Mayor Koch promised to build new housing units and rehabilitate 160.000 city owned uni ts in a 10 year plan projected to cost S5.1 billion. While the city has not reached this goal. it produced one of the largest public-sponsored housing programs in America in a time of savage budget cu t~ for social programs. To accomplish this. the Koch administration tapped into a variety of constituencies: private developers, not-for-profit housing managers, church groups and associations. as well as national foundations. In "New York's Infill Housing" (Design Book Review #23. Winter 1992), E. Perry Winston described various kinds of infill rt'newal work taking place in New York, ranging from the church-based Nehemiah Houses (which had built and sold t,tJoo single fa mily houses using local contractors on vacant city land) to A.C.O.R.N. in East New York, a grassroots organization of self-hel p squatters that, with the help of sympathetic press coverage. forced the city to support them as urban "homesteaders." The city offered low-cost loans while technical assistance was provided by the Prall Center for Community and Environmental Development. Winston also desc ri bed the innovative use of prt'fabricated housing manufactured at a cost of SSS per square fOOl in an all-union factory at the Brooklyn Navy Ya rds. "Brooklyn Villas" consisted of 117 3- & 4-bedroom units produced by New York Modular, whose modular. steel-framed boxes can be carried on a truc k and stacked up to 3 stories high. The profits from "the Villas" were used to generate lOS cooper· ative units in 35 townhouses elsewhere in WilliamSburg, also using modular construction.

By April 1995 Alan finder of Thl' New York Times reported that the city had spent S4.2 billion and produced over 50.000 new units. 3.000 apartment blocks we re rehabilitated to crt'ate 39.000 apartments and t2, 000 new one, two and three bedroom houses were built whe re burned-out shells had once stood. infilling blocks in the Bronx. Brooklyn or Harlem. While the city did make some costly mistakes at the start, the average cost was abou t $65,000. Under pressure from the local communities. the Koch administration stopped housing only homeless people in these new units and by t9S9 placed homeless people in half the apartme nts created by the program. In contrast, the Giuliani Administration finds itself in a fai rly untenable situation. The city gove rnment is leff with small and scattered buildings representing a potential 12,000 d wellings (which it plans to sell to nonprofits or housing associations). as well as another 3S,000 units in old dila pidated buildings in need of renova tion. 705% of these apartmen ts are in buildings with to units or fewer and most of the inhabitants are very poor, earning less than !;,ooo a year, half the ave rage for public housing. Guliani currently has budgeted $341 million to contin ue the Koc h·Dinkins effort (a reduction of S29 million or S%) and tied the fu ture of the program 10 the health of the New York economy.

Many architec ts have participated in the campaign to ho use the homeless, and in the arc hitectural press the issue has become a mainstream media issue. Progressive Arc hi tec ture had a competition for the design of a minimal housing unit in 1992. The city has sponsored accommodations for single homeless people in group homes. neighborhood shelters and vario us city-sponsored associations run by organizaTions like the Volunteers of America. The SRO hotel has been vin ual1y reinvented in th is process (the city still has 1\,000 people in such hotels). In the best cases, like the recently opened Williams on 42nd Street, these organizations have rehabilitated old hotels and apartment buildings. providing built·in social and medical suppon systems, with good fac ilities, 24 hou r security and excellent track records of good rela tions with their host neighborhoods. Jonathan Ki rchenfield of Arc hilrope designed an exemplary. small S.R.O. for the Bushwick section of Brook lyn, integrati ng all the required services into a building which neatly infilled its site, with public amenities for the community on the ground noor (including a ga rden in the rear).

Mean while. Storefront For Art and Architecture. where the Homeless Vehicle Project was first displayed in 1985. has bravely conlinued to sponsor exhibitions and events on a minuscule budget, in these times of gigantic cutS in arts funding from Washington. The gallery's interests continue to be pacifist - the conversion of the military-industrial complex. and concern for the plight of the victims of poverty and war. The end of the Cold War was celebrared in such exhibits as Komar and Melamid's satirical. social realist Yalta Conference Memorials and their U.N. project proposal. The terrible fate of contested ciries in the Cold Peace informed the "Warchitecture-Sarajevo: a Wou nded City" exhibition and the "Detroit Is Every whe re" show organized by Camillo Vergara and Richa rd Plum: of Columbia Unive rsity. Last yea r Storefront also featured Michael Sorkin's firsl solo show. a beautiful installation sheathed in transparent plastic, appearing like a diaphanous sea ray ensconced in the gallery. Sorkin's "Suburbs of Utopia" showed plans to transform the disused Brooklyn Naval Yards into a waterfront newtown suburbia. A mixed use, ga rden city complex with much ovoid styling. water. parkland and lagoons. the project is optimistically full of new housing and small industries and offers easy highway access. Storefront has courageously experimented with many permutations of its premises to reach out to the streets of the city. One installa!ion required The fitting of ponable loilel capsules for the homeless in the street facade, with steps up to their doors. In a rece nt transformation Stephen Holl and Vito Acconci have provided the gallery with an extraordina ry space which on a summer's evening can extend out easily onto the wide sidewalk. Driving or walking by in summer offers direct views into the interior. as walls rOlate in the vertical or horizontal plane to provide moveable exhibition surfaces. The gallery. like the homeless. is f ighting for its place on the stree t. a contested realm in the city. On the interior the main display wall remains the back pany wall. receding rapidl y into the acule angle of the gallery's prow-shaped apex. A couple of columns occupy the cenler of the space. while the moveable wall in the wimer provides •.nother long surface for displays. Rem Koolhaas's recent show at M.O.M.A. in t994 tried to make th is same conneCTion, imponing city bus shelters inlo the upstairs gallery and displaying text as advertisements in the Sireet and subways. Storefronl has the distinct advantage of being much more messy al ground level and. being engaged with social issues. much more direct. While Swrefront slill survives as a soc-ial advocaTe on a tin y budge!. Ihe most telling images of the disappearance of the homeless have been rrod uced by documentary photographers. Homeless people are sti ll everywhere in the city. transient. collecting their cans and bon II'S for redemption. sleeping on park benches and in doorways. Over the last S years Margaret Morton. an Asssociate Professor at Cooper Union. has documented and constructed oral histories of the homeless. She has shown. with gentle compassion. the hard struggle of the homeless to build themselves elemenlary human shelters, contesting small public spaces. building small communities and even c rellting garden environments in the most unlikely places in the city. At the end of her book with Diana Balmori. Transi/ory Gardens. Uproo/I'd Lives (Yale, 1993 ). Monon showed city bulldozers destroying many of the structures. gardens and small communities of shanties so carefully constructed on Ihe East River Piers. at Thompkins Square Park and under the raised sections of the East River Drive Highway on the Lower East Side. In The Tunnel (1995 ) Morton again undertook a multi -year project wi th the homeless community living unde rground in the tunnels and hidden niches of the rail wa y system. Even before the book was published. the city sent special police squads into the subway tunnel s in response to an underground fire and systematically evicled the inhabitants. This summer a fire in the long distance Amtrak railway tunnel under Riverside Park on lhe West Side prodl1ced the same result. The city had to send its firemen underground again and took the railway to court . forcing it to evict the inhabitants. Some

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had been living there for over 20 years and had fabricated plastic covered. plywood huts complete with electrical service and television rece ption. While Morton in some ways doc umented the elite of the homeless, those with the skill and the will to build their own shanties, the destruction of these fragile shelters was symbolic of the larger situation. The homeless are expected to once again become invisible.

J. Pollce A ction. Rltd the Di:Jftppear-nft.ce of the Ho-..ele:» ift.



Wodiczko's emphasis on the safety of the STreets corresponds to a radical change in the practices of the police. NY PD actions have dramatically aherecl the landscape of New York streets. The pOlice, who lefl their squad cars and returned to the street on foot and bicycle in a system of "Community Policing" under the liberal-democratic Dinki"'s mayorShip. now answer to a mayor who places priority on cleansing the street of undesirables. In New York. as well as around the nation, the homeless have suddenly become almost invisible. During his run for Mayor. former Public Prosecutor Guiliani promised to get lough on the homeless men who cleaned commuters' wind shields as they entered and exited the city via the bridges and tunnels. In office the new Mayor instituted an aggressive campaign to drive people he deemed unsavory from city streets. He threatened to prosecute "aggressive panhan· dle rs" who intimidated pedestrians on the sidewalks and subways. The police are authorized to harass many street people as drug lraffickers, allowing searches for weapons on any minor pretext. despite the outcry from civil liberties groups. The police are also authorized to pick up any young person they see on the srreet as a suspected truant from school. especially in the mid-town area around 42nd street. Several innocent, youthful-looking African·American working people were held at police stations for hours until rescued by employers. friends or relatives. Civil rights lawyers were again appalled at the nagrant disregard for constitutional ri ghts. In an angry gesture. the Mayor has since cut the budget of Ihe Legal Aid for Public Defenders and bloc-ked moves to institute a Civilian Review Board for cases of police brutality. Despite some vociferous communilY opposition. Mayor Guiliani insisted that unlicensed. mainly African, strttt peddlers be driven from t25th Slreet onto a vacant, church-owned lot at t16 Street, miles from the tourists and their buses. The Mayor also sent police with water cannons and armored personnel carriers to clear squaners who had been living in abandoned city·owned buildings on the Lower EaSI Side for over 15 years (Courts later overturned this pre-emptive strike. reinstatating the squatters as tenants).

This campaign to clear the streets of peddlers and the homeless has been backed up by Special District Plans linked with Business Improvement Districts (B.I.D. ). Special District Plans allow highly localized zoning ordinances to control the physical appearance of a small fra gment of the city, which are sometimes associated with tax incentives for compliance. The 8 .I.D.s provide private police forces on commerc ial streets. where property owners pay a special. additional tax to have the public space of the stree t managed like private property. The Grand Central Station Partnership B.l.D .. successful at clearing Ihe stalion of the homeless, then took on the streets around the station. Having promised to provide outreach srvices to link with social agencies. it is now in court answeri ng allegations that it employed "goon squads" 10 beal the homeless as a means of encouraging them to move to other neighborhoods. This brutal response has been part of a nationwide trend. as formerly li beral cities such as San Francisco and Seattle press anti-homeless ordinances. Given Ihis situalion it is TlOt surprising Wodiczko shifted his attention to an attempt 10 provide a sense of safety to the homeless living on the streets. independent of the police. 4. The Sociology Nei.ghborhood:), AIHe ,.i.caJ1, Ghet:t:(r.).



steven Flusty on Skid Row: ill tI,f rRhlr(llUb£l of the old cathedra l, where on oborted subwoy line once ran , a congregat ion of berobed redevelopment officia ls ond real estate financiers sto nd s before on altor decoroted with the jewel - encrusted likeness of 0 high-rise skyl ine. Behind the altor stonds the new cardinol, legs broced ond arms uproised preporotory to plunging 0 blade bcc~ into tlJt' (Jcnrt of tlJt' ont'rifit't'. ,_


HOIHeie-:», the N ew

There were many theories about where Ihe homeless had come from and how the City. State and Federal governmenls had failed to prevent this human catastrophe. Writing in The Homeless (Harvard. 1994 I the sociologist Christopher Jencks conservatively estimated that the number of homeless on the street or in shelters grew nationally from about 100.000 in 1\)80 to 200.000 in 1984 and 4OC.000 in 1985. At the end of the SOs he concluded that there were approximately 1.2 million people homeless. Jencks argued that mosl of Ihe homeless were sporadically shel1ered. going between street. cheap lodgings and shelters. Mosl likely to be long-term vic tims were unskilled African-Ame ricans with weak familie s, drug or alcohol problems and/or hiSlories of mental illness. Men or women with social and job skills, and with no records of substance abuse , were not likely to sta y long on the street in his view, Jencks saw multiple causes for the growth of homeless· ness in the 1980·s. He argued that or.e of the principle causes was the elimination of the invo!tlntary commitment of the menIally ill, allowing the "de-institutionaliUlion" of mental patienls without any financing for planned Community Care Centers to support them in normal lives in the cities.

NO, this never occurred. At least not so for as I am aware, But behind the recent debate about whether saint vibiana's Cathedral is solid enough , old enough or pretty enough to duck the wrecker's ball [and the even more incestuous griping about the architectural selection process] lie some less-than-exquisite corpses that even a coercively un-unionized Catholic gro ve digger would refuse to bury , I display the bodies here as 0 portfolio of forensic snopshots ond (maybe) red herrings, ond invite you to sleuth out solutions to the inner mysteries: How much quoke domage did st, vib's REAtLY susta in ? What will b e the final site of the new cathedrol? will the next Pope be an Angeleno? And just how did the ini tiol request to demolish so eosily 1li'1"01/. h the City council's inner sonctum, anyway?

~ !


Lo ic Wacquanl , Professor of Sociology at U.C. Berkeley, has named this historic combination of Ihe withdrawal of private capital and stale services and the concentration of stale supp0rled poor and ex -homeless in a small area the "HyperGheno" (in Dissenl Ifall 19S9 n. Wacquant speaks of the "de-Skilling," the "de-

""g--" running Community Redeyelopment Rgency activities suggest the intent to link the carpa-

'-<::"'~..!~a.st_el on Blinker Hill with little Tokyo by way of deyeloper Ira Ye lli n ' s "gentrificat ion by


.~ :ru1~. .O'ho'ird t Broadway and the ciyic center's sOllthernmost bastion. the Ronald Reagan '. ffig ~1g (or "fort Ronnie" to its occllponts) at Third and Spring St reets. •


't~ ;" ~'Sl" for such a project was dampe ned considerobly by all those folk sleeping on the side-


0 .

" ~~ &J/

David Moberg, in his review of homelessness in "In These Times" (November 14,19(4), pointed out that Jencks understated the housing shortage in his otherwise excellent study, Jencks ciled as a contributing factor to homelessness the disappearance of the once-plentiful "flop houses." 1bese cheap hotels, bars and rooming ho uses wert' e ither the victim of planned urban redevelopment bec_ of Ihrir CftTtraI location or wert' overcome by gentrification, Tn New York the old skid row, the Bowery on the lower East Side, has become the home of an galleries, late night clubs and cafes. The city, citing poor housing conditions, building code violations and gener:..1 dilapidation accelerated ,the closure of S,R.O. hotels, which housed many poor people and were the firsl refuges of the ex-menIal ward patients, Residents of these hotels oflen had nowhere e lse to go but the slTee!. Tax code changes, high interesl rates and high energy costs (from antiquated equipment) made it more difficult for small landlords to make a profit from renting rooms and apartmenlS. In the late 19705 and early 80S, the cheap housing market in New York collapsed. 65% of Harlem, much of the lower East Side, parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx were burned for insurance or abandoned by landlords, Other properties fell into the city's hands through lax foreclo· sures. making the city the biggest hou ~ ing landowner in New York (under Giuliani, Ihe city has ceased 10 take buildings for non-payment of laxes, arguing that it cannOI afford 10 be the landlord of lasl resort ),

st. v ib's manage to soil

s.'eeping on the sidewalk were attracted north of Third Street by the presence of the eseue Mission, just below second on Ma in Street.

dition to protesting abortion rights ond the sale of pornographic publications, Mahony ersow the replocelllent af father O!iYores at lo plocito and Fother Boyle at Dolores Mission. in the ~ss eyisceroting programs tending to poor adolescents in the projects of Boyle Heights entrol Rmericon refugees. y was rllmored to grollse frequently obout his cothedrol, how its shabby mod e sty was rthy of on archdiocese with the stot ure of los Rngeles ,

f the Pope's yisit to

l. A. , the archdiocese and such pllblic institutions as the lRPO relocat e d

~J:::!:,:,:~~,ef* 'nto on olley

behind the Union Resclle Mission and Saint vib iono ' s, Ollt of sight of

is HOIi'rSS ' Iting in the sllbsid iled relocotion of the Union Reselle Mission were co nd\lcted Redeyelopment Rgency in conjllnction with the orchd iocese.


... t~t' blnbt' dttiht'i' ~otnt' , sending the soul of the altar-bound homeless mon heovenward and <oJ bringing the earthquoke liturgy to fruition, The celebrants exalt the impending erodicotion ond polatial reconstruction of their threodbare house of worship while , off in the distant valley, the :::;;: ground begins to tremble violently. -STEVEN FLUSTV IS R VERBOSE GfOCiRRPNER WI TN R BRO RTTITUDE RT THE UNIVERSITV Of SOIlTHERN CRlIfOANIR.

-Drawings of


st. vibiono Cothedrol project ore by Froncesco Corduo


Shower Truck


This project uses the desire to prov ide s h owers

for the ho me less a s 0 gene ra t or for creating a rchitecture a nd 0 se rie s of u rban mo me n t s.

SPECIFICATIONS 14 shower stalls powered by 1000 sf of solar panels mounted on the back of an

l8-wheeler trailer.

r •• 1

Each stall is eQuipped with a soap dispenser, washboard, and clothes dryer. All materials are of stainless steel for ease of m aintenance. Energv is stored in battery banks hooked to generators extending the length of the


Water is supplied by tapping into the


public system of fire hydrants . Water is heated and dispersed ..... ia boiler and expansion tank methods.

Each ShowerfTruck reQuires one atten -

dant who will travel in the cab between parking lots.

Delivery, pick UP and transport of the

trailer will be by local trucking companies contributing their time for tax breaks.

O b:>e,..v atiol'1;:) When living in london, I became accustomed to taking baths. But I missed the showers of my childhood growing UP in Califom ia. They seemed so much more efficient : quick, light exercises with plenty of sun through the windows to remind one that the next outdoor activity was just a shower away. But they also served as distinct thresholds : the passing of one period to another - like after a hard day of gardening, to refresh before supper. Somehow sitting in a tub was not the same as passing through a shower. The shower has a significant ritualistic place in the Southern California lifestyle. The lack of personal hygiene is one of the most basic and pressing issues facing the homeless. It directly leads to the erosion of one's self esteem, and with that the confidence and hope it takes for one to reintegrate oneself back into society. In traditional cities, the sidewalk or street is the equalizer between peoples. Whether rich or poor, all share a common ground - literally the ground they walk on. But when driving in los Angeles, one is struck by the fact that the homeless are also CARless. In the context of Los Angeles. the homeless lack the ability to travel to facilitie s. The irony is that they are the ones who are constantly

mobile for they have no home. Cleansing facilities need to be brought to the homeless for in Los Angeles at least, they are not mobile on the scale of the city. Parking lots for the most part seem to be such a lot of wasted space because they perform only one function. No other space in the city is afforded this luxury. The single-minded nature of parking is what makes most lots such dead places. Just as at the beach, where people play roller-hockey and sail-skate in the shadow of the CirQue de Soleil's tent. the parking lots of Los Angeles are potential urban stages for various human activities.


It's almost 4:00 o'clock on the Palisades. Johnson usually doesn't pay

It's lunchtime downtown. Pershing Square is teeming with visitors, workers and passers-by. Traffic is thick, the sky dear, and the noise dense. Water gushes from the Square's fountain and splashes on the surrounding cobblestones. Out from the corner of your view, you see a large l8-wheeler pull up to the corner of 5th and Olive, enter into the parking lot and stop with a hiss. A person jumps out from the cab, checks several dials on the trailer and flips a switch. The long walls of the trailer, which are implanted with solar panels rise on gas struts, like gull-wing doors, to reveal stainless steel innards. Curtains from within stir in the breeze. The truck attendant pulls out a large hose and attaches one end to a nearby fire hydrant. the other end to the rear of the trailer via Quick-release levers. He turns the hydrant on. The hose swells with the passing of water; the needles on the dials ju mp as purring emanates from deep inside the stainless torso - evidence that the soJar panels have kicked the onboard generators into gear. The nearby dock tower chimes 12 :00. The ShowerfTruck is now open for service.

attention to such things ; as the world rushes around, always trying to beat time, Johnson struggles to find ways to pass time. Survival is the goal, boredom and depression the enemy. Such is the life of Johnson, a homeless citizen. People allOid Johnson. He knows why : he smells but it still hurts. He really has nowhere to go but moves to allOid those who wish avoidance, and pan-handle those who seem susceptible. But today he is back here on the Palisades at 4:00 because he knows that this time every other day, it comes back. He still remembers his first encounter. This truck as big as a ship pulling UP and unfolding itself. It was cool and glistening in the summer sun. A man handed him a towel, smiled and indicated that any of the 14 stalls were available. Soon there was a small line of various friends, homeless as he, lumbering out of their afternoon slumber only to realize what he already had: he was about to take his first shower in days. 20 minutes later, he emerged clean and wearing a cleaner shirt thanks to the facilities on board. But it was the memory of wate~ pelting down on his back, the sun gleaming through his wet locks that stuck with him . It was that memory and comfort that brought him back to the Palisades today - for another dose of hope, of self-respect. Johnson looks down on the Pier parking lot as the truck pulls in and starts setting up. He moves towards the footbridge that will take him down to the beach. This will be his eighth time. It was becoming a habit.

Leo always arrived early. Parking his car in the garage, he walked down the stairs, across the tarmac to Hanger B, and unlocked the roll-up gate. The gate rolled up to the ceiling, the noise of its bearingS echoing along the pol-


ished concrete "oars. In 40 minutes the Acme Trucking Co. would be along to _ __ -"'iCk UP him and his eQuipment Leo moved Quiddy - there was much to do: stacking towels, topping off the soap discensers, taking readings on all the gauges. wiDing the stalls down. An ex-firefighter, Leo still keDt to his old habits of meticulous preparation and methodical procedures. An old injury slowed him down at times, but his fireman's insurance and censkxl provided ably for him. This year his only grandchitd would be entering college and the extra bonus he received to attend the ShowerfTruck would be the difference. After inspecting the solar panets. Leo sat down on the running board to review the day's route. Hollywood and Virgil would be the first stoo. Then into downtown, finishing UP at the Santa Monica Pier. Leo always liked this route; the Pier was a nice place to end the day. Many users there, and since the Acme driver couldn't pick him UP until 7:00, Leo could enjoy the tate August sunsets. A hom sounded. The driver had arrived. Today it was Tony who was always good to get in the moming before the day's hassles transformed him into a grump. Tony backed his cab into Hanger B, Leo made the necessary hook-ups and dimbed into the passenger seat. The day was about to begin.

- The Shower Trud was awarded a 1990 ArA!NeKt aWllrd by the Los Angeles chapter of IheAfA.

COW/NUll} {1IOi'I pAljf }

differentiaTion" and "de-policing" of the old "Classic" ghetto. which. becau~e of racial segregation laws. conTained a mixTure of rich and poor African-Americans or immigrants. Today. the inner city enclaves are left WiTh some wealthy areas like Strivers Row in Harlem. a few middle class projects and acres of the poorest of the poor or new immigrants. many subsisting on government benefits of one kind or another. Meanwhile few services are provided by the city. and public health and education are neglected. Wacquant argues that these areas are "de-policed." left to the tender mercies of the underground economy in drugs, street prostitution and selling stolen goads, resulting in gang dominance and high crime rates. In New York recent police corruption cases have involved officers in the poorest precincts, l uch IS Harlem and Mot!haven, one of the most violent drug areas of the South Bronx.

aways from across the nation created an especially problematic youth subculture. The city was too poor to undertake a clean-upon its own and worked with the State's semiautonomous Vrban Development Corporation (V. D.C. ) to issue bonds and condemn and buy properties in a public-private partnership backed by the Prudential Insurance Company. In exchange the company was awarded the right to redevelop the prime blocks around Broadway and 42nd Street. where they proposed a massive 3 tower scheme designed by Philip Johnson which ignored the city's Urban Design guidelines. At the same time the city gave special incentive zoning bonuses to developers to shift development away from the East Side towards the west. The result was a glut of office towers just as the stockmarket collapsed in 1987, leading to many bankruptcies and vacant buildings in the neighborhood. 42nd Street was boarded up and became a ghost town awaiting further development. It was inlO this vacuum that the Vrban Development Corporation projected .p.nd Street Now, a booster organization to market the street, and the City established the 4md Street B.I.D. to encourage development. In the depths of this real estate depression con« artists weft asked to design mstallations to fill the space and remale the city's image where sleazy night-life and small-time show business suppliers once dominated. lenny Holtu r, architects Diller and Scofidio, Barbara Kruger and others lit the marqu«s, animated old billboards and made installations in vacant lobbies for passing pedestrians.

6. COftcl..w:Ji..oft: Jttedin, Ithe



Itlle City

Wodiczko and Lauria's Homeless Vehicle Cart was highly effective as an intervention. using the media and its powerful imagery to influence our perception of a pressing social problem in the city. The project punctured the normal discourse on the city and fundamentally altered the terms of debate. It exploited the power of the media to carry an image effectively to the electorate. The project highlighted the impact of the media in the city and the city 's housing policy was alte red as a result. The "Vanquished" were temporarily inscribed in the contested public realm of the city. its media space, just as they were present in record numbers in the traditional pubEc realm, the city streets. The Homeless Vehicle Project. like the rotaring flaps at Storefront, disrupted both public realms simultaneously in a bravura display of public relations and artistic skill. The double nature of the project. its double intervention as media piece and street object. was crucial to its success and effectiveness.

Camillo Vergara, in a series of articles for The Nation in 1993-4. and in a forthcoming book, has shown lhat the city's use of its tax-foreclosed housing stock for sheltering the homeless and to create new housing has produced new concentrations of the very poor in what he has termed a "New In the succ«ding seven years there have been few proAmerican Gheno." These areas were initially abandoned jects which have had this disruptive double presence. as because of high crime rates, drugs and prostitution on the street object and media concept. It is sobering to realize that the 19905 equivalent of the Homeless Vehicle Project streets. He drew a map showing street crime. crack houses and new housing units in an area near the regionally signifis the 42nd Street Renovation proposed by Robert A.M. Stem. Just as Wodiczko and Lauria produced a few, careicant inlers«tion of the Major O«gan Highway and the Throgsneck Bridge approach to Long Island , where drug fully considered images and a small demonstration on the - - - - - -trading served a regional clientele. Vergara argued that the-Robert A,M. Stem was hired by 42nd Stref't Now to create-street, Stem's project was ftJ'Tesented by two carefully- - placement of single mothers and thei, children, as well as a new lemporary ( t5 year) image for the street and limes considered images and the promise of Disney on the the marginalized. including ex-mental patients. in these Square. Stem proposed a very simple nostalgic. yet futuris· street. from this small genn, the large media and real areas was a recipe for disaster. This is especially true tic. image of the street at about V-J Day 19405, when a\1 the estate corporations around limes Square, like the homebecause of poor access to public transportation and virtual- lights were lit and relatively wholesome entertainment was less before them, were able to leverage much from the Iy no access to jobs or job training, available. His electronic version of the nostalgic sl1ftt life city, using the pUblicity apparatus of the press. The difincluded refurbishing the old hotels. theaters, stores and ference between 19805 and 19905 is thaI. whereas the 50 TM Sr:-ge Dba#,~e 01 Ithe billboards for record stores, MTV studios and gymnasia. As Homeless Vehicle was disruptive and shocking to the Slaa director of the Disney Corporation. Stem was able to con- tus quo, the promise of Disney is Ihe return to the status Ho,",~, Mnkiftg tM Cllty Sn/e for TOW"bt;:). vince the corporation, along with Madame Taussauds Wax quo ante, the reinstitution of the disrupted dream with Works (owned by V.K. media giant Pearson P.L.C.) to state financing. While this might seem a shocking use of invest in a second major theater on the Sl1ftt. Tn addition public money, this procedure has become normal as An effort to improve the image of New York City explains in a large measure the eradication of the homeless from their Disney and Architectonica won the competition for the architects and developers routinely employ public relahighly visible position in the city center's streets and their development of the stare-owned V.D,C. block at the junc- tions firm s to manage thei r image in public forums and location elsewhere in areas of poverty. Christine Boyer has tion of 8th Avenue and .p.nd SITUI with a flashy tower the Urban Land Use Review Process. Ind«d the media written about the new, nostalgic streetscapes created for hotel. time share apartments and more media-oriented stores realm of the cily has become a preoccupation of owners tourism in sectors of the city like South Street Seaport and and themed restaurants. Opposite will be one of the largest and investors, whose advenising for their projects Banery Park in Variations on A Theme Park (edited by multiplex cinemas in the V.s. The sex industry has all but demonstrates the conversion of the city into a consumable Michael Sorkin, 1991.). The creation of these enclaves of disappeared. relocated by the Guiliani administration and commodity item. a scenographic, safe image both in the tourism, luXUry and conspicuous consumption has become the City Council to peripheral industrial areas also slated fOr media and at the street level. the city govermnent's planning goal, using B.I.D.s and vast retail hypermarkets. The result of all this activity is that Special Zoning District powers. 42M Sll'ftt, along with ,Sth Avenue and ,S7rh Street in The media manipulation of the desire for the city has conMidtown, is a safe urban simulacrum for suburban and out- verted the urban image into a spectacle to be consumed al The plans for limes Square and 42nd Street provide perfect of-state tourists nostalgic for a taste of city life. The poten- a price. We have perhaps entered a new Baroque period illustration: 42nd Street has a long history as an entertain- tial of the global marketing opportunity of 42nd Street as a of the display of power in public, but the display is now menr district leading down towards the large piers on the tourist mecca for giant media corporations and real estate electronic and mediated, on a pay-per-view basis. Most Husdon River, the present day port for large ocean liners and interests has driven out all other uses. The whole area will people now live in the suburbs in America and the cilY cruise ships. The street's descent from roudy entertainment be ablaze with neon at night, maling an enticing urban spec- has become something exotic and extraneous to their of the soldiers and sailors of the Second World War into the tacle, an extraordinary and unique place, perhaps only repli- daily lives. They long for a sense of communit y and the Pomo industry of the II)6o'S and 70'S was rapid and alann- caled in Las Vegas, downtown in John Jerde's electronic proximity that cities provide (cities are constantly used as ing, associated with the arrival of drugs and high crime main street or on the Strip, seen through the proscenium of backdrops in advertisements for luxury items and high rates. High school truants from the outer boroughs and run- the windshield . fashion), yel they feel vulnerable as suburbanites on the - - - - - - -- - --'-- - - - -- - - - -- - - ----''----- - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - -- - -city street. The impacl on the city has been enormous , - - - powering the proliferation of urban simulacra in malls, new downtowns. etc. Most new jobs have been and are being created in the "Edge Cities" outside of the Central Business Districts. and city centers throughout America are again in a state of crisis. The push for safety. cleanliness and propriety, driving the homeless from vie w, can be seen as part of this larger shift in the global economy. as corporations gear for the new mass proletariat who will visit and consume the image of the city in the begin ning of the second millennium. In this situation the disappearance of Wodiczko's second project for the homeless was not so surprising: the liberal consensus surrounding his earlier success had been replaced by a corporate consensus. In an ironic twist, the streets of the American c ity are being reclaimed by global corporations in Ihe name of their consumers, the media-dependent suburbanized and third world middle class "victors," who had a low tolerance for the image of poverty and independence represented by the homeless "victims." Wodicuo's Homeless Cart has tumed out to be only the firsl round in what promises to be a long media war for Ihe control of the soul of the city. - Orah,~ ShIM writes md leC"tll~s otIUrNn issues, will appe" in rhe upcoming anthology SubUrNn Discipline published by Storefront IJ>d teaches 1/ Columbia University. Cooper Union IJ>d UniYersily of Pennsylvania

Poste red throu ghou t downtown New York last year, the concentric diagram appeared equa lly an annoTutli'd largel, enigmalic roadmap, and highly personalized flowchart: Andrew Castrucci composed this spiral of philosophical tenns and concrele objeets, twining the m toget her in unlikely causal chains that forced a kind of bemusli'd rr3l1CE' in passers-by, Unlike the mandalas of old , Ihese circular images led one to meditate on the shortcomings of society and the specifics of perseverance. not the renunciation of worldly concern.

Andrew Castruccil Dy:)topia Def e,..,..ed

Born in 11)6 1, Andrew CaslTUtti lives and works OUI of Bullel Space, an "urban artists' colLaborat i ve~ in New York's Lower £ast Side. As an urban resistant. or squatter, Castrutti fuses his life, work and politics in paintings, publicalions and installations Ihat draw very literally on the realities of life at a societal margin, while simultlll'll!OUsly dissolving into ethereal abstraction.


The pie«s in the " Hook ~ and "Wave" series i11 usrrated here draw meir inspiration from both me neighborhood of Bullet S~ . localed in a part of Manhanan on« known as "Corlear's Hook," and Castrucci's time teaching at a men's psychiatric shelter on Ward's Island, Tom McGlynn, who has written eXTensively on Caslrucci's work ,

"The phys ical locale o f both (Caslrutti's) childhood haunts and his teaching position on Ward's Island are bordered and surrounded by powerful tidal ri vers, Ihe Hudson and East Rivers, respectively, Casrrutti brings up the memory of friends succumbed ToAIOS, and p:nienls on Ward's Island

- -.


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from tuberC' ulosis or more violen! ends in thf ir reduced exislenee on the street He equates





death and disappea~ with the seemingly impenerrable surface tension of the rushing river,"





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McGlynn goes on TO explain CastTUCCi'S "symbolic duality~ l.: as II fonn of transcendent materialism, Castrucci appropri8t~s bolh the imagery and srralegies o f a life daily won from the ciry's edges, once stacking urinefil1li'd bollies to fonn an alte r-like screen that










constant connict wiTh police. In his introd uction to the an ts"s Hook Smes EI~men lS exhibirion, McGlynn continues, "CastrlJ(:C;'S psychic geogl'llphy begins wi th a vision under waler,

+ Related

Where he lives and works is submer;ed, «rto1inly in re lation to the rapid "Disney-fica lion" of the reSTof the city, His fishhooks seem appropriatel y pastoral metaphors, pi~rcing through 10 me meat of \he world beneath the facadell of me virtual plane. Edges glist~n in the Hook series. where paint i~ applied direcrly 10 ~I ee l. There is a clear corre~pond~nce between the fish hook as a ~urvival tool and its power U II tran~ndmt symbol: !he barb!. suggeST both the perennial hunt for spiritual ~uslenanee and the ultima te mortification of the nesh."


1996 SHOW , THE


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The Professional Eng ineers in California Government (PECG) is a bill that has qualified for the State ballot which would require ANY project over $50,000 receiving State funding to be determined solely by competitive bidding rather than qualifications. Moreover, all projects would be competitively bid by State contractors. The AlA and other professional organizations are concerned that this amendment to the State constitution is unfairly set up to anow State architects to perform almost all State-funded AlE work . There could be a catastrophic loss of work b y the private sector for projects such as schools, hospitals, courthouses, libraries, transportatio n related projects, and community colleges. For more information contact you r local AlA chapter or call the AlA California Chapter at 916/448-9082.

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Newsletter, Summer Urban Assault 1997  
Newsletter, Summer Urban Assault 1997  

Editorial by John Dutton, Postscript, After 7 Years by Grahame Shane, Steven Flusty on Skid Row by Steven Flusty, The Shower Truck by Li We...