Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center

Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center is sponsored by the Global Studies (…), Environmental Studies (…), Urban Studies (…), and Urban Design (…) at The New School

Within days of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, plans to rebuild arose amid contrasting, often conflicting, attempts to define what the site represented, and what it should become.

In this discussion, urban anthropologist and author of Battle for Ground Zero (2013), Elizabeth Greenspan, will discuss her new book and trace the evolution of the WTC site and its public spaces over the past decade from disaster area to graveyard to tourist attraction to construction site, illuminating the tension between commerce and commemoration at the Ground Zero and the unrealized expectations and political gamesmanship surrounding its development.

Constantly returning to the streets surrounding Ground Zero in her reportage for The Atlantic, Greenspan captured the mood of both New Yorkers and the nation, as devout attempts by those less affected to claim a piece of spiritual ownership of 9/11 transformed into frat-boy antics of jingoistic posturing in some cases, and developers battled designers over memorial space while politicians opportunistically hovered. As One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) approaches completion, among the many questions Greenspan addresses is how to recreate millions of square feet of commercial office space on a site that has become a national symbol of mourning and, in some quarters, rage.

The lecture and presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Elizabeth Greenspan is a writer and urban anthropologist currently teaching at Harvard University. She writes regularly about Ground Zero for The Atlantic online. She has lectured about Ground Zero and 9/11 at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Brandeis College, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Temple University, and SUNY-Albany.


Location: Wollman Hall (B500), Eugene Lang College
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm


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