Residents are flocking to the Newark Public Library to pore over a vast scale model that represents their homes, schools, businesses, and other familiar places in present day Newark. Dedicated to Every Block in Newark, an exhibition celebrating the 350th anniversary of the city, was co-directed by Damon Rich (LF ’07) and Jae Shin, his partner in Hector Design Service, along with Tony Schuman of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Schuman’s architecture students provided hundreds of hours of volunteer effort over the 4 years it took to create and place 30 thousand color-coded buildings on the 15 foot square topographic base.
The model is another of Rich’s extraordinary community engagement strategies, along with the Newark Zoning Workshops he led as the former planning director and chief urban designer, which resulted in the complete overhaul of the city’s development codes. (Read Rich’s 3 part series “Zoning for Democracy” in the LOEBlog.) As he told NJ.com "The whole goal is to get people interested and active in planning and to know how things work." In addition to the model, the current exhibit includes the work of Newark artist Bisa Washington and archival materials that educate Newarkers on how the planning process worked (or didn’t) in the past and what their role is to ensure the future they want for their city.
Dedicated to Every Block in Newark will be on display at the Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street, through September 15 when it decamps to Newark City Hall to take up permanent residence.