YEAR: 2013

LOCATION: Newark, New Jersey 

TYPE: Research & Analysis

PROJECT TEAM: Daisy Ames, James Petty, RJ Tripodi



Infrastructure has played a continuous role in Newark.  The Puritan settlers founded the city as a theocratic agrarian town, but placed strategically along the Passaic River, the town became a major stop-over along the trade route, contributing to its development as a city.  In the booming industrial period, Newark built a rail network and bridges to move goods more efficiently.  As industry left the city in the early twentieth century, infrastructure continued to develop.  The increased highway network no longer served to support the city’s growth but instead allowed residents, unable to find employment in the changing economy, to leave the city for the suburbs.  The population of mainly white residents fleeing the city was replaced by poor blacks from the south looking for work and a better life.

The loss of industry began a century of upheaval for Newark.  Crises in housing and employment came to the forefront as decades of racial discrimination escalated in the riots of 1967.  Throughout the twentieth century, Newark has struggled to rebuild itself while the expansion of infrastructure has opposed this desire. 

Newark’s greatest success is its infrastructure. From the early years of the city, the machine of transportation put into motion the present great infrastructural development.  In industry, the city expanded its economic reach beyond its borders, and when de-centralization of industry occurred, the infrastructural trend persisted. The rise of the highways and other modern modes of transport brought Newark where it is today. Over time Newark’s connectedness has continued to grow. Early on, the city established connection to New York and Jersey City, it was later connected nationally through its rail network and airport. With the airport’s expansion, Newark became connected globally.  The city in this way is unbounded.  In contrast to all the struggles Newark has faced in reconstruction, opportunities continue to present themselves through this larger network.

These images map various ways Newark's infrastructure and networks of transportation have defined it's physical, social and political unrest - all in relation to its tendency to establish a place without any sense permanence.