Recently, I’ve immensely thought about the legacies of racial segregation and class divisions, and how vital it is that we reverse course. The policy aspect is one side of the problem, but we should also be building, renovating, and rehabilitating housing — and we can do it with good design.

True affordable housing is nearly non-existent in today’s development landscape, particularly in New York. The fight continues for fair, affordable, or free public housing. But it must come with a reckoning of the reigning real estate industry that cannot continue to hold the sway it does in city and state…

I started writing this a few months ago before the pandemic hit — every day now, I think about how swiftly this crisis has hit our communities, the circumstances that lead to it, and how we can better design our cities with public health in mind. The neighborhoods around Elmhurst Hospital are resilient and they will come back stronger than ever. Forever grateful to all of the frontline healthcare workers, some of whom I interacted with, in Elmhurst and throughout NYC.

On the first day of this year, my mother was hospitalized with a severe case of the flu (make…

Pass by any of the colossal housing projects in the city (whether public or affordable, like cooperatives) and if you take a deeper look, you’ll realize there is a massive underutilization of space.

Robert Moses built upon Le Corbusier’s Radiant City movement with a massive undertaking to create housing for poorer New Yorkers. Today, one look at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which owns and manages the public housing projects, and you’ll see it is a complete disaster. Consistent lack of stable utilities and facilities, dilapidated buildings, and lack of investments in the overall environment, with money going…

“The Greatest Sh**hole in The World!” My dad would always proudly exclaim when the radio host announced where they were located.

What has always made this city eclectic and exhilarating, despite the sometimes draining daily life, are the communities that have been cultivated by various groups of people who have sought refuge. That is why you’ll find a little slice of the world in every corner of New York.

It is common knowledge that gentrification continues to reverberate throughout NYC communities, especially those populated by people of color. …

The Rockaways. All the way up from the housing projects in Far Rockaway down to the queer sanctuary that is Jacob Riis Park. This is where you’ll see every type of New Yorker taking a break from the hustle and bustle and the reeking smell of garbage.

Some will take the A train from as far out as Uptown Manhattan, chugging along slowly as it reaches Broad Channel–remarkably close to the water that it feels like a scene out of Miyazaki’s film, Spirited Away. Queens denizens are packed onto the Q53 bus, shoulder to shoulder zipping past cars on the…

Desolate. Decaying. Devoid of street life.

These are words that you wouldn’t think could describe the bustling Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. Take a walk on the West Side from Broadway to the Hudson River, however, and you’ll notice a lack of vibrant street life that encompasses everything people love about the surrounding neighborhoods. That isn’t to say there aren’t people walking around, selling counterfeit handbags and Rolex watches, or shopping at the few hardware stores that remain.

Walking on Canal Street after work for the past year, I’ve noticed major differences from when I used to go there countless…

Movement through dense, diverse urban spaces fosters interactions that stimulate our thoughts of why these spaces exist. Growing up in New York City, I’ve been fascinated by the moving parts of the bustling metropolis for as long as I can remember. Whether pretending to be a subway conductor as a child from my constant commuting or embracing the shift in ethnic makeup and cuisine by neighborhood, it’s hard to say when my interest in Urbanism began. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to describe my interests, yet the word fits perfectly. It combines topics like sociology and economics, urban…

James Tschikov

urbanist / tidsoptimist / daydreamer / student & future planner at Pratt GCPE / jtschikov.wordpress.com

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