Contested City: From the Lower East Side of New York City to the West Side of Chicago Book Talk & Reception

Date / Time

April 11, 2019 - April 11, 2019

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join Jane Addams Hull-House Museum for a book talk and panel discussion with Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, author of Contested City: Art and Public History as Mediation at new York’s Seward Park Urban renewal AreaTeresa Córdova, director of UIC’s Great Cities Institute; Nicole Marroquin featured Hull-House artist and Professor at SAIC; and Jose E. Lopez, executive director of The Puerto Rican Cultural Center.

Revealing the untold stories of fifty years of community activism at the controversial Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) on New York’s Lower East Side, the book, “Contested City” sheds light on the importance of collaborative creative public projects in a complex place. A unique and humane book that bridges art, design, activism, and urban history – author Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani will offer a presentation of her work on the SPURA site. Also, hear from local Chicago artists, activists and urban planners about similar displacement and activism that are occurring in Chicago’s West Side neighborhoods – Pilsen, Humboldt Park and the Near West Side. “Contested City” will be available for purchase through Seminary Co-op Bookstore.




Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani is an urbanist, curator, and artist pioneering public arts and urban research for community engagement. She is principal of the design and research studio Buscada, and teaches urban studies and public art at the New School in New York. For more on her work please visit

Teresa Córdova is the Director of the Great Cities Institute (GCI) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) and an affiliate faculty of UIC’s Departments of Sociology; Gender and Women Studies; and Latino and Latin American Studies.

Nicole Marroquin is an artist, educator, researcher and Associate Professor of Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 2016 to 2017, Marroquin worked with Benito Juarez Community Academy High School students to create small ceramic monuments to their own homes, called “Future Homes”, marking their presence more visibly in their neighborhood, as a way to confront gentrification. 130 “Future Homes” and 18 businesses are on display in Hull-House’s current exhibition “Participatory Arts: Crafting Social Change”. alongside over 100 ceramic objects from the Hull-House Kilns program that was active from 1927 to 1937.

Jose E. Lopez is Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago. The Puerto Rican Cultural Center is a community-based, grassroots, educational, health and cultural services organization founded on the principles of self-determination, self-actualization and self-sufficiency that is activist-oriented.

This program is part of the Making the West Side: Community Conversations on Neighborhood Change project. Making the West Side is an ongoing Jane Addams Hull-House Museum project launched with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, that brings together scholars, activists, neighborhood residents, and other stakeholders to investigate the history of neighborhood change on Chicago’s West Side and connect those histories to contemporary issues.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (JAHHM) draws upon the legacy of international peace activist and feminist, Jane Addams, and other social reformers who worked, alongside their immigrant neighbors, to create social change on the Near West Side of Chicago during the Progressive Era. The Museum preserves and develops the original Hull-House site for the interpretation and continuation of the historic settlement house vision. Exhibitions and public programs elevate histories of activism, progressive education and democratic principles of participation and exchange, and connect them to present-day social justice issues.

Image caption: Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani’s great-grandmother Josephine (Giuseppina) Coccaro’s painting of the view from the Seward Park Cooperative housing units, the subject of Bendiner-Viani’s book.

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