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5 Questions With | Anne Guiney

Guiney.Anne.1Mark Riffee Anne Guiney.

It would be a gross understatement to say that the East Village is in the midst of a transition. Old buildings have been threatened and new ones are scheduled to rise, much to the chagrin of many locals. But as Bill Millard, an East Village resident and freelance writer for various architectural and urban design publications, points out in an e-mail, it’s just as “important to consider ways to encourage the types of development that provide or foster benefits for a neighborhood” as it is to protest and block “destructive forms of development.”

So what kind of development is positive and why, recently, have some seemingly less favorable projects been allowed to continue in the East Village? The Local caught up with Anne Guiney, executive director of the Institute for Urban Design, and asked for her thoughts.


What architectural elements characterized the East Village before the gentrification of the neighborhood?


It all depends on what your carbon dating system is for gentrification and how you define it. I think the East Village has, for a very long time, been defined by tenements in terms of building type. And that hasn’t changed a lot architecturally. Obviously the street-level retail and the kinds of uses are a lot more commercial, a lot more recreational than they were 20 or 30 years ago, but the physical structure of the buildings is still defined by the tenement.
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