Fringe Cities: Legacies of Renewal in the Small American City, curated by MASS Design Group, explores the Fringe City, defined as small cities on the periphery of large metropolises, many of which were severely impacted by urban renewal.
Between 1949 and 1974, the United States federal government invested billions of dollars in urban infrastructure through a series of planning, demolition, and construction programs collectively known as “urban renewal.” Originally packaged as anti-poverty initiatives, urban renewal often exacerbated existing problems, reinforcing segregation, building highways through downtown cores, and destroying historic structures. While many large cities have rebounded from these social and spatial traumas, smaller cities often continue to struggle with the same problems that urban renewal sought to resolve.
This exhibition presents a snapshot of MASS Design Group’s ongoing investigation into the Fringe City. It examines the role of design in mapping and selling strategies for renewal, diving into four cities—Easton, PA; Saginaw, MI; Spartanburg, SC; and Poughkeepsie, NY—to understand local impact and hear from the organizations working today to address the legacies of this era of rapid, large-scale change.
Curation, Research, and Design: MASS Design Group
Graphic Design: Beurskens Projects