Private Lives in the Big City
Alice Twemlow’s lecture introduction: The topic of tonight’s lecture is one that’s particularly resonant for our new students, some of whom are making their new home here. But, of course, it’s a heartfelt issue for all of us who struggle to varying degrees to find privacy and comfort in this extremely public city of 8 million bodies. The ways people live and arrange their belongings, and the point where person and setting coincide is also of particular interest to Design Research students in their studies. In their thesis research we have had students address: the simulated room settings in hipster home stores like Urban Outfitters; the rising phenomenon of “tiny houses;” how Dansk cooking wares helped break down the divide between kitchen and living space; the experience of living for two weeks in a Mars Habitation simulation unit in the Utah desert; and the role of policy in the design of Housing Projects. Home—the place where person and place, reality and fantasy, memory and longing, safety and danger all merge into one—is a continuing topic of fascination for us here. So it’s wonderful to be able to introduce you to a real expert in this topic. Constance Rosenblum is going to talk about some of the stories she uncovered while writing her Habitats column in The New York Times Real Estate section, and which have been collected into the recently published NYU Press book Habitats: Private Lives in the Big City. During her tenure at The New York Times, Rosenblum has been editor of the Arts and Leisure section and a longtime editor of the paper’s City section. She is currently a reporter in the Real Estate section. She is also the author of Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope Along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, the story of an iconic New York street, and the editor of two collections of essays from the City section, New York Stories and More New York Stories.