The reason I chose Newark as the city I focus on was because of the misconceptions that surround the city. In the class we have been discussing who defines the city–is it the people within the city, or the people without? In my opinion, the case has always been the latter. Unbeknownst to Newarkers, their city does receive a lot of international traffic, namely because of Newark airport, the commercial centers in Downtown Newark, its port, and its proximity to New York City. Because of this, many people, who have not spent an extended period of time in Newark, often defines what the city means. The accounts of outsiders is then bolstered by negative media.
The purpose of this project is to change the narrative. No one hears of the budding arts scene, or the cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, or the Ironbound section in North Newark. The purpose of this project is to educate and introduce people, who had had a conception of Newark, to the city from the eyes of a person who has lived in the city. I hope to attract people who are only in the city for work purposes. Downtown Newark sees an influx of professionals that remain relatively isolated from the rest of the population, physically and culturally. Another group that I hope to attract are people who have never been to Newark but still hold negative views about it. This is due to misinformation and lack of information. This project looks to provide information where it is missing and counteract false notions.
As of now, the project would be an interactive map that centers on the major neighborhoods of the city as well as pictures and explanations that will accompany them. If possible, I would try to get a authentic pictures–things that are not on the internet. As for the pictures, there would be quality in addition to quality in order to give the viewers a full depiction of the city. The advantages to this method is that it gives viewers an opportunity to not only see parts of the city, but where they are geographically as well, it leaves nothing to the imagination. Conversely, it becomes difficult to offer contrarian evidence to what they see. For example, if there is a picture of an abandoned building, it will be difficult for me to say that the city is “in a renaissance.”
I want this project to be part of the larger conversation surrounding Newark. Newarkers consider their city to be in the midst of a renaissance and are in the process of changing the narrative surrounding the city. I hope to add something positive to this conversation.
The project is to be in the form of an interactive map, and when the viewers click on a ward in the city, pictures of the area pop up along with descriptions accompanying the picture. If the ward has any particular history, I hope to include this information with an overarching picture.