Founded by architect Kareem Halbrecht and cultural planner Gilly Karjevsky, 72 Hour Urban Action was part of the Bat – Yam Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, a collective debate centered around “urban experience and activities that have the power to transform the city into a higher quality, optimistic, and vital place.”
Dubbed “guerrilla architecture,” 72 Hour Urban Action brought 100 participants in 10 international teams for a three day competition to design and build various projects in different public spaces throughout Bat – Yam, Israel. The competition, which first launched last year, was a huge success and spurred the creators to bring the next edition of 72 Hour Urban Action to LIC in 2012.
The day of preparation began with a brief introduction by Halbrecht and Karjevsky, along with a short video of the 2010 event that took place in Bat – Yam. Next, presentations of what can be done in LIC were given, one of which was about Holding Pattern, the MoMA PS1 installation by Interboro Partners. To create Holding Pattern, Interboro asked PS1′s neighbors what they needed, and then incorporated those items into the installation. Everything from the trees to the benches to the ping pong tables found a new home after the installation’s dismantling.
Aurash Khawarzad of DoTank: Brooklyn discussed “DIY urbanism,” a more creative idea, and “tactical urbanism,” making more permanent changes. DoTank: Brooklyn’s presentation focused on how tactical urbanism can transform a community by promoting green space. DIY urbanism, like yarn bombing, while creative and interesting, is not what the community needs to promote long term change. However, tactical urbanism initiatives like widespread chair bombing, digital community billboards, and using light projectors to improve building aesthetics, not only encourage community participation and green activism, but also prevent “cookie cutter high-rises” from changing the character and culture of neighborhoods going through gentrification.
Nina Rappaport, an architectural historian, and curator, best known for her preservation of the Queens Sunnyside Gardens, presented “LIC in Context.” Because LIC is a “hybrid scape” of commercial, industrial, and residential zoning, Rappaport proposes a collaborative effort between artists, local craftsman, and business to improve the local economy and create a new image for LIC. She also proposes making LIC more attractive to go to by emphasizing its proximity to Manhattan, improving transportation and infrastructure, constructing residential bridges, and creating welcoming billboards to give LIC a distinctive character.