Public Engagement

General Public

Battle for Ground Zero: Inside the Political Struggle to Rebuild the World Trade Center

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College 65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003

Within days of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, plans to rebuild arose amid contrasting, often conflicting, attempts to define what the site represented, and what it should become.

In this discussion, urban anthropologist and author of Battle for Ground Zero (2013), Elizabeth Greenspan, will discuss her new book and trace the evolution of the WTC site and its public spaces over the past decade from disaster area to graveyard to tourist attraction to construction site, illuminating the tension between commerce and commemoration at the Ground Zero and the unrealized expectations and political gamesmanship surrounding its development.

Constantly returning to the streets surrounding Ground Zero in her reportage for The Atlantic, Greenspan captured the mood of both New Yorkers and the nation, as devout attempts by those less affected to claim a piece of spiritual ownership of 9/11 transformed into frat-boy antics of jingoistic posturing in some cases, and developers battled designers over memorial space while politicians opportunistically hovered. As One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) approaches completion, among the many questions Greenspan addresses is how to recreate millions of square feet of commercial office space on a site that has become a national symbol of mourning and, in some quarters, rage. 

The lecture and presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Elizabeth Greenspan is a writer and urban anthropologist currently teaching at Harvard University.  She writes regularly about Ground Zero for The Atlantic online.  She has lectured about Ground Zero and 9/11 at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Brandeis College, the University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, Temple University, and SUNY-Albany.

This event is sponsored by the Global Studies, Environmental Studies, Urban Studies, and Urban Design programs at The New School.

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


Cities and Urbanism, International and Global, Politics, Policy and Government, Intellectual Culture and Big Ideas


University, Schools of Public Engagement


Architecture, Global Studies and Migration, New York City, Urban Design, Development and Policy, Social Justice


This event is free and open to the public; no reservations required; seating is first come, first served.

Admin Notes

Approved PT

Recent Activity

People Interested (4)

Brandon Fischer Charles Chawalko Laura Malagon Lindsey Devers

Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.