Jessica M. Coleman

Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

IN MEMORIAM

In IN MEMORIAM on October 31, 2008 at 11:44 am

As I look towards graduation next spring, I start to reflect on how I got here. My great-grandmother “Nannie” along with millions of Blacks to create the largest migration in American history to create better opportunities for their families. My family settled all over the Midwest: from Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, to Chicago where my great-grandmother Sally helped the WWII effort as a factory worker for airplanes.

I lost my Nannie three weeks into the start of my master’s program. For the first time, my concentration was broken and the last thing I wanted to is sit in studio all day. But somehow through all the stuggles I had been through during grad school made me think of her. And although she only formally had a sixth grade education, she was the smartest woman I knew. Thank you Nannie.

A Chilly Nite in Newark

In Field Research on October 29, 2008 at 8:42 am

Last night I braved the path train and went to Rutgers U for my Milano policy class and thesis research. Newark is in transition right now and the current economic downturn makes revitalization even harder.

Rutgers University Atrium

About a month ago, I switched my thesis from Harlem to Newark, because my Harlem thesis, even with its good intentions it felt a little bit forced.Thesis prep was really frustrating as a tried to make sense of a market/health clinic.I love Harlem like a second home because I use to live in around 123rd and Broadway, so at the time it made sense to pick a site in my backyard…

But after sitting in my policy class and Newark seemed so more natural to me. The more I learned about Newark the more it reminded me of my hometown, Cleveland. Newark has been though a lot like many cities in post-industrial transition. It has rebounded from corruption, the 1967 riots, and flight to NJ’s surrounding suburbs.

So my working thesis title is “Rustbelt Junction”. “Rustbelt” meaning a post-industrial city, a place whose population exploded with industrial revolution. And “Junction” meaning an interruption, specifically a riot, (for example, the Newark 1967 riots) with segregated, decentralized, and ultimately depleted the city’s urban core. My goal is implement master plans that focus on retail, green affordable housing typologies, and use Newark’s strong educational and medical facilitates as a catalyst for growth.

There is so much research to do, I think that I will be living in Newark by the time graduation comes around…