Creatively Destroying New York: Fantasies, Premonitions, and Realities in the Provisional City

author: Max Page, Department of Art, Architecture & Art History, University of Massachusetts Amherst
published: Feb. 28, 2011,   recorded: February 2002,   views: 2842
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Description

This lecture places the attack on the World Trade Center in the context of New York's history as a place that is seemingly destined to be destroyed and rebuilt with stunning regularity. It explores three ways of looking at a central experience, and cultural trope, about New York City: that it is a city of creative destruction, regularly destroying and rebuilding itself. Professor Page begins with a discussion of extraordinary moments of destruction, both natural and human-made (from fires and blizzards, to acts of terrorism), and then argues that it is the "regular" processes of creative destruction - through private real estate development and government urban renewal - which are far more important in shaping both New York's physical organization as well as its cultural image. Finally, he explores how the imagination of New York's destruction - in art, literature, and cinema - is not only at the heart of New York life but of American culture as a whole.

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