The Newark Public Library is celebrating the city’s 350th anniversary with a study of its urban planning history. Every Block in Newark is an exhibit made possible through a collaboration among 150 local artists, architects, and community members that aims to give insight into the many decisions and processes that led to the city’s current form.
The centerpiece of this installation is a 14-foot-wide scale model of the city of Newark, the first complete model of its kind. 30,000 individual models were crafted from styrene and cardboard; their bright colors designate the use of each structure. Built at 1:250 scale, the average two-story home is roughly 1/8 inches tall. The entire model is built on a surface of milled plywood that shows the hills and valleys of Newark’s landscape.
Architectural students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and volunteers from the community took several years to build the model. The Mayor’s Office of Arts, People Power Planning Newark, and Newark Celebration 350 also collaborated with the library to bring the project to life.
The exhibition will also feature geographic quilts and historic planning materials from the public library’s archives, including master plans, community plans, and urban renewal reports. These documents will give insight into the processes that led to the city’s modern day shape.
Also on display are some of the artworks of Bisa Washington, a sculptor, printmaker, and writer who lives and works in Newark.
Newark was originally founded in 1666 by Robert Treat and other Connecticut Puritans from the New Haven Colony. It is currently the second-largest city in the New York Metropolitan area, and contains the largest container shipping terminal on the East Coast.
The Newark Public Library is located at 5 Washington Street and will have the model on display until September 15, when the exhibit will move to Newark City Hall. The contributing architects were:
Damon Rich, partner, Hector Urban Design, Planning & Civic Arts, and founder, Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
Tony Schuman, associate professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Jae Shin, partner, Hector Urban Design, Planning & Civic Arts