For five years in the 1970s, Pratt Center published Street: A Magazine of the Urban Environment, a semiannual publication during the golden age of the community development movement. The magazine provided practical tools, critical analysis, and visionary ideas to the local organizations and community leaders working to reclaim abandoned housing, clean up destitute streets, and create open space in some of the city's most neglected neighborhoods. “The idea was: What if we look at neighborhoods in a positive way?” remembers Ron Shiffman, Pratt Center's inaugural director.
Street was more than a handbook; through striking graphic design as well as bold text, it created a space to imagine possibilities for urban revitalization. Street broadened the reach of what planning could encompass: It included articles about food additives, terrariums, hospital expansion, sewage (one of several reprinted from Better Homes and Gardens), and how to create storage containers out of milk cartons. One cover was a graphic screed against the Vietnam War. The magazine also included articles on Pratt Center's early accomplishments, such as the city's first mixed-use zoning plan.
In commemoration of our 50th anniversary, we present to you an issue of Street from the height of New York City's economic crisis. A compelling look into the community development challenges of the moment, the issue includes articles on citizen participation in the City's charter revision process and on some notable successes and pervasive barriers in the push for affordable housing. We invite you to explore the full issue here.
Click here for more information on Pratt Center's 50th anniversary.