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. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  3. 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.

  4. Design

    Stan Lee’s New York City

    The Marvel Comics maestro gave his superheroes a city that’s colorful, dangerous, rude, quippy, and full of heart. It might be his greatest creation.

  5. A man walks down the Zeedjik.
    Equity

    How a Dutch Housing Agency Rescued an Amsterdam Street From the Drug Trade

    Frustrated by rampant heroin trade, residents of the street Zeedijk forced a public-private real-estate partnership to protect the street while preventing community displacement.