Recalibrating Queens is a digital history and activist scholarship project focused on publicly excavating and exploring the history of development and change in western Queens.
Phase 1 focuses on examining changes in housing and population over the last 20 years. These changes were spatialized through a series of 65 maps, and contextualized in light of recent history in Long Island City, an epicenter of change in the region.
Phase 2 is a more expansive look at the context of change in the borough of Queens. Starting just before the point of European contact, this inquiry aims to situate recent changes in relation to: the longer historical development of the state and the region, the introduction of the racial capitalist political order through settler colonialism, and the ongoing contentions around land, liberty, and life. During this phase, I will continue to interrogate and document the contemporary moment, building upon that which was learned and curated during phase 1.
This project is a direct response to recent and rapid changes, intensifying development pressures, and swelling community organizing, and was conceived alongside my resident-based organizing efforts with the Justice For All Coalition over the last 2+ years, and the development of my dissertation proposal as a student in the environmental psychology program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. It aims to provide another counterpoint for understanding contestations around development in a region that has undergone rapid change in recent decades, and to situate and elaborate residents’ experiences, perspectives and alternative visions for the development of their neighborhoods.
In short, Recalibrating Queens is part of a larger goal to reexamine the past and resituate the present of western Queens so as to to reimagine a more just and community-centered future.