mvmtbldg/Wordpress

The show will grapple with the fundamental question of what a city should be.

It's the urban planning equivalent of Rinaldo. Except instead of the siege of Jerusalem, it's the battle for Greenwich Village.

The legendary 1960s struggle pitted planning czar Robert Moses against neighborhood activist Jane Jacobs. Moses wanted to make the city easily navigable by car. During his reign, he displaced half a million people with highways. But the powerful planner met his match when he proposed an expressway through Lower Manhattan. Though she had little institutional support, Jacobs built a citizen coalition that ultimately defeated Moses.

The opera will be composed by Judd Greenstein. Greenstein was inspired by the 2011 Plan of the City, an animated short created with Joshua Frankel. In the film, Manhattan's famous architecture is blasted off into Mars.

Frankel has already agreed to direct the show. The duo grew up in New York, and each has a personal connection to the neighborhoods impacted by the historic battle.

"It's very much a 20th-century story," Greenstein explained at a recent panel discussion that was organized by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

As the creators explain on their website:

This is a story about New York City, and about cities, in general. It's a story about the people who live in those cities and how the decisions made on their behalf, by those with authority and those who resist that authority, tangibly impact their lives. It's a story about two brilliant, visionary urban theorists, each of whom turned their theory into practice, and in so doing changed the landscape of New York and the field of urbanism forever. And it's a story that continues to this day, in New York City and beyond.

(h/t Fast.Co Design

Top image via mvmtblog on Wordpress. 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A man walks his dog on a hilltop overlooking San Francisco in the early morning hours on Mount Davidson.
    Equity

    When Millennials Battle Boomers Over Housing

    In Generation Priced Out, Randy Shaw examines how Boomers have blocked affordable housing in urban neighborhoods, leaving Millennial homebuyers in the lurch.

  2. A photo of a resident of Community First Village, a tiny-home community for people who were once living in homelessness, outside of Austin, Texas.!
    Design

    Austin's Fix for Homelessness: Tiny Houses, and Lots of Neighbors

    Community First! Village’s model for ending homelessness emphasizes the stabilizing power of social connections.

  3. Life

    Amazon HQ2 Goes to New York City and Northern Virginia

    After Jeff Bezos set off one of the highest-profile bidding wars in modern history, Amazon picked two East Coast cities for its new headquarters. The surprise extra: There's something in it for Nashville, too.

  4. A photo shows the Amazon logo on a building.
    Amazon HQ2

    Amazon’s HQ2 Spectacle Isn’t Just Shameful—It Should Be Illegal

    Each year, local governments spend nearly $100 billion to move headquarters and factories between states. It’s a wasteful exercise that requires a national solution.

  5. Cyclists and walks use a trail beside Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas.
    Life

    HQ2 Is Only Part of the Story of Big-Tech Expansion

    Amazon HQ2 may be split between superstar cities, but San Francisco’s big tech firms are starting to expand into smaller, non-coastal places.