–One of the exhibits created by students in the Creating Digital History course.–
Slum Clearance: NYU and Urban Renewal in Greenwich Village
by Hester Goodwin
The term “Slum Clearance” is not one professionals prefer to use in the 21st century. It carries baggage–a whiff of racism and classism, and an elitist connection between “the poor” and moral failure. But until recently, what we would now call “Urban Renewal” was called “Slum Clearance,” and by calling the project by its not-so-past name, we in the present can see the effects of those projects more clearly.
This is because when we hear that something has been “cleared,” it is almost always followed by the phrase, “to make way for….” This exhibit asks the question, “What and who was cleared in the Washington Square Southeast Slum Clearance Area? And what and who did they make way for?”
In this case, the entirety of the land cleared as part of that project was eventually used by New York University for educational and athletic facilities, and faculty and student housing. The goal of this exhibit is not to judge this reality, but to inspire the viewer to question it and form opinions of their own based on what they see and read here.
To see the exhibit, go to: http://aphdigital.org/GVH/exhibits/show/nyurenewal