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Designing w/ Agency





Atlas Scientific






















District Council on the Environment of NYC















Forest Service




Hester Street Collaborative












JPMorgan Chase Community


Lang College




Milano College




Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter


NENA: Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation


NYC Soil and Water Conservation

NYC Urban Field Station





Parsons The New School for Design


Partnership for Parks








The Fortune Society

Tishman Environment and Design Center




Union Square Partnership



School of Design Strategies

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2008/2009 School of Design Strategies/ Parsons The New School for Design

Copyright Designing w/ © The New School 2009. All rights reserved. ISBN 978-0-557-22380-0

Contents 6 The School of Design Strategies (SoDS) Miodrag Mitrasinovic chair , Urban & Transdisciplinary Design Alison Mears Assistant Professor of Core Studies   chair , Practice-Led Research Cameron Tonkinwise chair , Business Design and Sustainability 8 Introduction Eduardo Staszowski Coordinator of Academic Projects   and Partnerships, SoDS 11 Community Engagement at Parsons The New School for Design Edwin Torres Director of External Partnerships 14 Urban Communities Alison Mears Assistant Professor of Core Studies   chair , Art+Design Core Desiree Andrepont Part-time Faculty, Milano   (Management and Urban Policy) 26 Urban Play and Recreation Miodrag Mitrasinovic Associate Professor, SoDS Scott G. Pobiner Assistant Professor, SoDS Eduardo Staszowski Assistant Professor, SoDS 42 Urban Modeling and Digital Modeling for Urban Design Victoria Marshall Assistant Professor of Urban Design, SoDS Brian Mcgrath Associate Professor of Urban Design,   School of Constructed Environments Phanat Sonemangkhala Assistant Professor of Urban Design, SoDS Eugene Kwak Associate Professor of Urban Design,   School of Constructed Environments 56 Urban Interventions Jim Osman Assistant Professor, SoDS Ben Katchor Associate Professor in the Illustration Program,   Parsons The New School for Design 62 Next_F Project Lara Penin Assistant Professor of Urban Design, SoDS Shana Agid Director of Academic Projects;   Assistant Professor; School of Art, Media & Technology Savitri Lopez-Negrete Research Assistant, SoDS

The School of Design Strategies (SoDS)

The School of Design Strategies (SoDS) is an experimental educational environment configured to advance innovative approaches to design, art, and business education specifically in the context of cities, services, and urban ecosystems.

School of Design Strategies

SoDS is a key participant in Parsons’ effort to build closer connections with other university divisions and enhance the interchange primarily between design and the social sciences, but also between design, humanities, and the arts. The school is committed to approaches that expand, transgress, and transcend disciplinary boundaries in creating new and innovative design-centered practices in an increasingly urban, interconnected, and complex world. Our mission is to educate students as agents of critical social, environmental, and economic change. The school is dedicated to fostering creative and critical synergies between its curriculum and ongoing faculty research through collaborative and inquiry-driven approaches in order to accomplish two parallel objectives: one, to find new areas of valorization for existing design knowledge and practices; and two, to configure innovative approaches to production of knowledge adequate to the degrees of complexity humanity faces in the 21st century and, in that respect, to discover new roles designers will play in creating a more humane, equitable, sustainable, and just world. The School of Design Strategies is a diverse, dynamic, and vibrant educational environment consisting of nearly 1200 students and over 150 outstanding instructors who live and professionally practice in New York City. In 2008 the school launched a comprehensive and systematic approach to the study of urban phenomena, processes, practices, conditions, and forms that attempts to integrate design, humanities, the arts, social sciences, and urban policy in addressing large and complex urban-centered social and ecological questions. In order to achieve this, we began to partner with a range of strategic partner organizations across NYC — from governmental to small, nonprofit and community-based organizations — and have devised a multi-partner, multiyear approach to addressing the most pressing questions NYC faces in the 21st century. In respect to this objective, SoDS has been reframed as a large research laboratory consisting of students, faculty, researchers, and external partners alike dedicated to studying and intervening in the urban condition by framing our work around urban practices such as urban recreation, urban education, urban mobility, urban food systems, and urban services. The main goal is to understand both the material and social infrastructure (from organizations and groups to roads, parks, and existing services) and the human creative resources that contribute to the creation of more humane and more sustainable forms of urban living. This publication documents the work done in collaboration with external partners in NYC and New Orleans in Spring of 2009 that focused on sustainable social innovation, cultural invention, creative community engagement, and business innovation.

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Miodrag Mitrasinovic Chair, Urban & ­Transdisciplinary Design Alison Mears Chair, Practice-Led Research/Assistant Professor of Core Studies Cameron Tonkinwise Chair, Business Design and S ­ ustainability




Designing w/ is a communication platform intended to document, present and reflect, on an annual basis, courses at SoDS developed in collaboration with external partners and across The New School. This platform is made of an exhibition portraying video testimonials; a publication with detailed information about these courses; and a one-day symposium to debate these experiences with our partners, students, and faculty. Designing w/ is also about participatory design. Unlike the problemsolving approach that focuses on providing immediate answers to problems, our approach is inquiry-driven and collaborative. At SoDS we want to learn how to use participatory design methods to build a shared understanding of the complex challenges, identify new opportunities, and design multiple scenarios and solutions. Every year we develop and offer courses to study and intervene in the urban milieu by framing our work around human practices: urban recreation, education, reintegration, mobility, food systems, urban services, etc. In 2008-2009 we had the privilege to partner with the Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association of the Lower Ninth Ward (NENA) in New Orleans; the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; Hester Street Collaborative; Partnership for Parks; Union Square Partnership; The Fortune Society; Green Streets: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, New York City Soil and Water Conservation District, Atlas Scientific, and S+EM: Tishman Environment and Design Center.


The School of Design Strategies (SoDS) is committed to innovative ideas that encourage the role that external partners can play in academic life. Within this scope the Coordination of Academic Projects and Partnerships was created to lead the ongoing effort of SoDS to continuously look for opportunities to integrate innovative teaching and research activities through the development of special projects and partnerships.

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Eduardo Staszowski Coordinator of Academic Projects and Partnerships/School of Design Strategies


Community Engagement at Parsons The New School for Design

In this moment collaboration and transparency have become key motifs in the private, independent, and public sectors. How can educational institutions prepare students to become responsible, responsive members of the community, as well as leaders in their fields?

Community Engagement at Parsons The New School for Design

Parsons is grateful to our faculty for our legacy of community service. Parsons is now deepening that legacy by working with faculty, students, organizations, and community members to develop methods for collaborative, participatory engagement that keep users of spaces and services at the center of the design process. Central to this process is teaching students to build long-term relationships and to design strategies and processes. Our School of Design Strategies faculty recently collaborated on a course on the future of urban play that utilized the knowledge and resources of three collaborating organizations: the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Partnership for Parks, and Hester Street Collaborative. Students developed methods, strategies, and tools to actively secure the participation of community members on the process of designing and programming public parks to create greater stakeholder buy-in and satisfaction. These efforts complement Hester Street Collaborative’s toolkit for collaborative design with community members on the Lower East Side for whom English is their second language and Partnership for Parks’ People Make Parks Program. Students and faculty from Parsons School of Design Strategies worked in partnership with The Fortune Society, an organization that reintegrates formerly incarcerated individuals, to explore opportunities and design enhancements to existing systems and services with a focus on improving the sense of community for The Fortune Society’s clients. Service design is design for experiences that reach people through many different touch points or experiences over time. Parsons faculty and students utilize participatory methods. The service provider and end user are involved in the design of services throughout the process to create greater stakeholder buy-in and satisfaction. The design of services focuses providers on sharing and maintenance of that being shared, shifting the focus away from the creation of more stuff for private consumption and disposal. Our ongoing relationships with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Partnership for Parks, Hester Street Collaborative, and The Fortune Society build upon the legacies of such long-standing programs as the JPMorgan Chase Community Development Competition and Design Workshop. The Chase Community Development Competition pairs college classes and nonprofit organizations to support developing communities with real estate proposals. In 2006 students from Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy collaborated with Parsons and won first place (the most recent of many such instances). Our students partnered with The Fortune Society to develop a multi-use building for the organization in Manhattanville,

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Edwin Torres Director of External Partnerships Parsons The New School for Design



Community Engagement at Parsons The New School for Design

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Designing w/ Community Engagement at Parsons The New School for Design

one of the lowest-income neighborhoods in New York City. The development is not only responsive to the community’s needs, but it is also environmentally sustainable. Chase gave the first-place award of $25,000 to The Fortune Society to help defray pre-development costs associated with the proposal. Milano and Parsons are currently collaborating with NENA in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward on a mixed-use facility that would combine administrative space, space for community services, a business incubator, and community businesses. Our faculty worked with our students to ensure that we all approached NENA in a spirit of humble inquiry, articulating the desire for a long-term relationship in which we actively seek their knowledge and ideas. Design Workshop is a program in which Parsons’ architecture graduate students serve communities by designing new physical facilities to meet their needs. The students then spend the summer building the facility, a practice rare in architecture education, increasing the students’ skill sets and sensitivity to community needs. Past highlights include InfoWash: A combination laundromat and information center designed and built for the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged town of de Lisle, Mississippi. The project was selected for a special exhibition presented as part of the Venice Biennale. The client for 2008’s Design Workshop was the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter (NCS), an organization committed to ending homelessness by providing men and women with housing and support services. The program is a new rooftop build-out and addition to a recently completed building in the Bronx, the NCS Young Adult Residence, dedicated to individuals who have aged out of the foster care system. The rooftop addition is aimed at providing a green space for the residence, a space where residents can engage in cooperative horticultural activities in a safe and tranquil setting. Parsons faculty members are training a generation of design professionals to engage in long-term collaborative relationships with community members, a skill essential to success in any professional endeavor.


Urban Communities / NENA: Neighborhood Empowerment Network Association

Students Parsons

Kristen Bogart Sean Cauley Kriston Chen Yu-Tao Chen Jackie Delsandro Francesco Donato Tsz Ching Fan Veronica Ibanez Julia Joseph Heather G.Szeto Milano

Esther Toporovsky Ting-Ju Lin Deenna Dobrer Jessica Felix Ben Loftis Heather Sheradin Aisulu Suaimananova Soledad Ursua

The New School has a long history of forming partnerships with nonprofit organizations. One of the more long-standing initiatives has been the involvement with JPMorgan Chase. in a college-based competition project located for the last 13 years in New York. In 2008 Ed Blakely, Director of the Office for Recovery Development and Administration in New Orleans, previously Dean of the Milano New School for Management and Urban Policy and familiar with the competition in New York, proposed that the competition be moved to New Orleans. The aim of this course is to use the competition as a framework to generate design and finance proposals that address the long- term needs of disadvantaged communities. Historically the competition has a high success rate, with half of the projects in New York built each year regardless of whether they were successful in the competition or not. In basing the competition in New Orleans, the hope was that projects slated for recovery zone neighborhoods across the city would benefit from their involvement with the competition whereby a range of buildable solutions could be proposed for nonprofit organizations. Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has seen a constant stream of plans, planners, and proposals attempting to provide solutions to the many problems confronting the city. New Orleans has borne the brunt of both environmental and political devastation. Its recent past anticipates, and mirrors, many of the problems that modern cities currently face, or will face, in the near future. In the past the Parsons/Milano partnership has won the competition several times and placed many times. “Winning” the competition means that Chase will donate $25,000 to the winner’s nonprofit partner to develop the design proposal, to finance feasibility reports, and to develop a business plan created by the Milano students. In 2008 a project designed by the Parsons/ Milano partnership consisting of a mixed-income, residential-commercial, environmentally sustainable development in the Lower Garden District took second place in the competition, winning $15,000 for The New School’s partner, Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans Renaissance Neigh-borhood Development Corporation. The competition dictates that schools partner with a nonprofit organization. In 2009 our partner is NENA, the Network Empowerment


Urban Communities

Alison Mears Assistant Professor of Core Studies/ Chair, Practice-Led Research Desiree Andrepont Part-time Faculty/ Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy Dennis Derryck Professor of Professional Practice/Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy

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“What I hope that the students and faculty learn from us is that community is at the core of everything that we learn and do. I hope that they would have learned that there’s competent folk at the grassroots level. I hope that students and faculty have learned that the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, is an ideal place to practice, to learn to expose yourself to a lot of ingenuity, ­creativity, and actually to see your work displayed in a very creative manner.”— Patricia Jones, Executive Director, NENA, June 2009

Designing w/ Urban Communities 18

Neighborhood Association of the Lower Ninth Ward, in New Orleans. Why the Lower Ninth Ward? Unlike many poor communities in areas around the country, including within the city of New Orleans, the Lower Ninth Ward has an historically high incidence of home ownership. The 2000 Census indicates that this ward has an extremely high proportion of 59% home ownership, compared with Greater New Orleans and the country in general. Unlike other areas in New Orleans, recovery in this neighborhood has been abysmally slow and the destruction after the storm surge was catastrophic. The incidence of past homeownership is an indication of financial strength, and the need to rebuild destroyed homes is the impetus to support this neighborhood. The Lower Ninth Ward needs sustained assistance from many stakeholders immediately and for years to come. One of the conditions of the competition brief is that the partner organization has legal control of an identified site, which becomes the place to develop design solutions for a building that addresses the partner’s needs. The design brief in 2009 is for a new community center, business incubator, and retail development on a piece of land adjacent to the current community center for NENA at 5705 St Claude Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward. NENA’s stated mission is as follows: NENA utilizes an innovative resident-based approach to the­ comprehensive rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward, providing services and implementing sustainable programs in community outreach, case management, design and construction administration, home and school rebuilding, and economic development. NENA has 17 staff members in the areas of management and administration, Outreach, Case Management, Economic Development, Volunteer Services, and the Design Studio. Its Board of Directors includes seven members, all of whom live, work, or worship in the Lower Ninth Ward. In addition, NENA has ongoing partnerships with the Loyola School of Law, Tulane University, Crescent City Alliance Recovery Effort (CARE), and numerous local and national organizations and supporters. NENA is the lead facilitator of the Lower Ninth Ward Stakeholders Coalition and is a member of the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership. The group’s design attempts to incorporate, confront, and resolve critical neighborhood issues as identified both by our client, NENA, and identified by students in their study of the community. The goal of the project is to develop innovative solutions for sustainable community development. The Parsons students developed the design component of this proposal in close collaboration with the Milano students. Students began their study by identifying specific areas of interest and researched the unique issues in this neighborhood. Environmental and social issues were explored, and urban design analysis was undertaken (transportation, location of civic and retail buildings, statistics on neighborhoods, particular site conditions, relationships with other neighborhoods, particular characteristics, etc). Local ­environmental issues were identified and reviewed to establish how green/environmentally responsible solutions could improve the lives of local people. This information was assembled to formulate objective characteristics of the chosen neighborhood. Students then identified critical problems in the neighborhood. Was poverty an overriding concern? Fear of future disasters? Lack of access to basic civic services like hospitals, schools, or police? Unemployment or underemployment? Crime? Was there a lack of hope that anything would ever happen? Based on environmental, social, and physical research, students

Students from Parsons and Milano travel to New Orleans to meet with NENA representatives and local residents. Back at school Milano students discuss the project. opposite

The Lower Ninth Ward is a neighborhood in transition working to rebuild after the devastation of the storms of 2005.

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Urban Communities 19

Designing w/ Urban Communities 20

identified problems that could be tackled by implementing design solutions. We began the process by launching a blog (http://www.nena-newschool. com/) to facilitate communication among all members of the team. Then, through design research, conceptualization, iterations, and development, students produced a proposal for a sustainable and financially viable plan for a new ­community building that NENA could implement in their future ­development of 5707 St. Claude Avenue. The proposed building begins to meet the needs of the neighborhood, is ecologically sound (and eligible for Gold LEED certification), and creates and builds community in this underserved area of New Orleans. The Milano/Parsons proposal was also structured in both its design and financing in a way that gives it the highest probability for implementation. The proposal for a building provides many assets to this beleaguered community including: new construction jobs, education in green technology, a new headquarters for NENA, the promise of a future embodied in built form, and all of the complex mix of social return on investment (SROI) that extends from investment in the neighborhood. Additionally, because of the extraordinary mix of expertise within the Parsons/ Milano group, students also embraced the challenge of contributing to NENA design and finance “value” in many more ways than just building. Patricia Jones, the Executive Director of NENA, asked the group ­early on to consider what “value” the Parsons/Milano team could bring to her organization. The students answered this challenge in multiple ways and under the title of “Lagniappe” or “A little something extra”: 1. Community Photo Project and Online Book Publication The graduate photography students undertook a community photo project,

The proposed community campus building at 5707 St. Claude Avenue



shaded exterior living space

community interaction

Students researched local precedents when designing the building to mediate the local Louisiana climate. Vernacular shutters, balconies, and places for community interactions were inspiration for the building’s “wrapper.”

Designing w/ Urban Communities

Business Incubator

Outdoor kitchen + Green roof

2nd floor

Balcony + Community Pathway

Bridge 21

Roughleaf Dogwood




Attracts birds and butterflies.

Attracts birds and butterflies.

Eastern Redbud

American Beautyberry



Attracts Birds

Attracts birds and butterflies.

1st floor American Wisteria

Virginia Saltmarsh Mallow Shrub


Attracts butterflies.

Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Herbs Coral Honeysuckle

Rose vervain

Copper lily

Lyreleaf sage

Stokes aster


Attracts Hummingbirds, bees and butterflies.

roof plan

The building supports the community at many levels: in adjacent exterior areas, in the interior programmed spaces, and in the intermediate spaces between the outside and inside. Landscaping is an important element of rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward. Students proposed planting and designed exterior spaces to support community events, provide new habitats for local birdlife, and modify the immediate microclimate adjacent to the building.

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Julia Joseph attaches stickers to disposable cameras for the community photo project to “Show Hope.” opposite

Urban Communities

Images from the photo project


asking local community members to photograph “hope.” These photos were assembled with the online publishing company “Blurb,” which offers multiple-format books available for residents, relatives, and friends to fundraise and to publicize NENA’s mission to bring people home. The physical building will also display the work created as part of this project as an exhibition and as an integral part of the building in laser-cut partitions and screens. The students also created an interactive “Google” map to track the progress of returning ­residents with up-to-date photographs of the neighborhood. Poorer ­neighborhoods are notoriously underserved with limited access to current community documentation, so this provides a real asset to NENA. 2. NENA Branding and Fundraising A graphic design student is developing a logo and publication materials to support the development of a recognizable brand identity. This work can be immediately used by NENA to update their publication materials and will be incorporated in the signage on the building. The graphic designer is also looking at the implementation of a widget that can be used on social networking sites to raise funds for NENA.

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Urban Communities 23

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59% vs.46%

59% vs.46%

Percent of Lower 9th Ward population that earned less than $25,000 per year.


52% vs.42%

Percent of Lower 9th Ward working-age residents not in labor force.


23% vs.15% Percent of children that lived with grandparents in Lower 9th Ward.

Percent of Lower 9th Ward population that owned homes.


98% vs.67%

Percent of Black or African-American residents that lived in Lower 9th Ward.

Designing w/ Urban Communities

Logo and widget exploration The design for a “widget� that could be placed on social networking sites, for example, to help NENA raise money. opposite

Communication and information graphics images explore key drivers for the project. The organization NENA is growing rapidly and needs a larger space. The demographics of the Lower Ninth Ward are important factors contributing to and defining the organization’s mission.

3. Additional Financial Exploration The Milano students developed a business plan to support the financial structuring for the new building, as well as a plan for the proposed Business Incubator, so that the incubator could be launched in the near future and could begin the process of financially revitalizing the community. Moving forward into the Fall 2009, this studio will take on the challenge of designing prototypical housing for the 40+ sites that NENA is currently acquiring and will look at how we can support community building at the neighborhood scale. In November 2009 we will enter the work of both semesters into the Chase competition and hope to help our partner with a large check to further its work. How does design support, reinforce, and sustain visions of a civil society as a reality open to all? The work of the Chase studio in New Orleans seeks to explore the multiple options that design and financial expertise present to tackle social inequities. As there can be no possibility of sustainable communities without universal accessibility and social justice, we need to make sure that all communities in the United States mirror the civil society that is the basis of this democracy.


Urban Play and Recreation / New York City Department of Parks and Recreation / Hester Street Collaborative / Partnership for Parks


Nancy Brown Samuel Crumpton Christina DiPaci Jessica Einhorn Chantelle Fuoco Jessica Liftman Katherine O’Brien Naomi Otsu Rostislav Roznoshchik Christine Vedros

This course explores relationships between urban play and recreational practices in New York City. In order to explore these relationships in real-life situations and to develop realistic scenarios for alternative approaches to urban recreation, School of Design Strategies partnered with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in 2008. Our initial conversations with our partners revealed an opportunity to initiate a multi-year project that would create a knowledge exchange among scholars and practitioners. Parsons faculty, undergraduate students, and graduate students would have the unique opportunity to learn from — and work with — the Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as learn from the broad spectrum of their other partners. We envision the exchange to take place through studios, critical theory studios, and ongoing faculty research in areas such as participatory design, sustainable social innovation, urban studies, public space, and game design. The breadth that Parsons brings to a partnership is unique in its capacity to incorporate such a diverse range of interests and domains of expertise. The purpose for this complex and ongoing project is to create a comprehensive new vision for 21st-century urban recreation in NYC. During the Spring semester of 2009, besides the Department of Parks and Recreation and Parsons, the first phase of this project was also joined by Hester Street Collaborative and the Partnership for Parks. The result of the first 15-week-long segment of the project was a recognition that the anticipated vision for 21st-century urban recreation in NYC will have to emerge out of multiple attempts to frame it and will be characterized by ­the following complementary dimensions and components of the vision: Social Practices and Cultural Narratives An important goal of this project is to systematically document forms of social interaction and features of local and cultural value that contribute to recreational practice in form, type, process, or experience, thus creating new recreational propositions that are socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. We then incorporate these features and forms into propositions that can contribute to locally driven innovation for the design of recreational space and activity. Processes, Protocols, Policies, and Norms We include surveys of regulations, rules, and protocols devised by city agencies and affiliated groups in order to create, organize, and maintain recreational opportunities in New York City. We pay particular attention to the tools and methods that primary designers, planners, policy makers, and advocates employ to identify the goals and ideas within their constituencies as they plan and deploy initiatives for change. Throughout this project we will propose new tools and methods, as well as the modification of tools and methods that are currently used through the framework of sustainable social innovation.

Urban Play and Recreation

Miodrag Mitrasinovic Associate Professor /School of Design Strategies Scott G. Pobiner Assistant Professor/ School of Design Strategies Eduardo Staszowski Assistant Professor/ School of Design Strategies

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“This course was set to explore relationships between urban play and recreational practices in New York City...[t]he project will attempt to create a holistic and interrelated framework for understanding, engaging with, and acting in relation to emerging urban recreation processes, practices, phenomena, forms and conditions.”— Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Chair of Urban and Transdisciplinary Design

Forms, Types, and Modes Of Participation The project will also explore qualitative and human-centered approaches to understanding and mapping out the experience of citizens, individuals, and groups in interacting with organizations and agencies in charge of the recreation infrastructure of the city. Of particular interest will be NYC residents who are traditionally marginalized in the processes and practices of planning. Urban Recreation Ecologies The project will attempt to create a holistic and interrelated framework for understanding, engaging with, and acting in relation to emerging urban recreation processes, practices, phenomena, forms, and conditions. In the Spring 2009 Urban Play and Recreation studio, students were asked to research and design selected components of the comprehensive vision for the future of urban recreation in NYC: A. Urban Recreation Phenomena A key objective was to understand how citizens engage in both recognized and alternative forms of play and recreation in public space and city parks and to understand how to distinguish the components of any (urban) game or recreational activity in order to develop sets of common attributes that create what



HEAL PARK our our

Partner: urban play

Department of Parks and Recreation Charles McKinney New York City has an increasingly wide range of cultures, languages, and expectations for public space. There is no way to make our new parks meet those expectations without engaging the surrounding community and learning their needs and aspirations. We need to learn ways to do this that draw out people’s knowledge, creativity, and best public instincts, often without sharing their language. This past year the Design Division of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department worked with Parsons The New School for Design to explore ways to expand community involvement as well as improve the information we gather. We have a few observations to share: The curriculum of the School of Design Strategies encourages students to cast a wide net for information, posit solutions, then refine them for implementation. This process exposes opportunities that will be missed by a professional who is looking for the quickest way to a positive result. Many new approaches were created and prototyped. The ideas that resulted from this open-minded exploration yielded a variety of possible tactics for the Parks and Recreation Department to explore. You can see how playing a game called “Heal Our Park” (Figure 1) with oversized band-aids annotated with a wish or concern, pasted by the participant on the appropriate place, will create a fun, engaging hour, as people see that their concerns joined by similar ones in problem areas will generate a photographic opportunity and give weight to the concern, without taking a vote. The benefits of allowing everyone to participate, without requiring confidence in public speaking, are magical. The ideas that were generated during this class went beyond the design process to include concepts for spurring public involvement, stimulating learning about parks, and even creating games for observing and recording attributes of park use. The ideas are not scientific, but they are useful and valid.

our our

our our


Figure 1


Designing w/ Urban Play and Recreation 30

Infrastructures The material infrastructure needed for urban recreation is certainly another important element that brings together many constituencies and requires a variety of domain experts to develop successfully. Here too we create visions for forms of urban recreation that will rely on alternative uses of the existing infrastructure, innovative programming, and different approaches to urban recreation. Investigating how different groups contribute to the production of urban infrastructure will identify new synergies among these groups. These synergies will ultimately reveal opportunities to incorporate the digital and symbolic realms of social networking and augmented reality with the physical interactions characteristic of more conventional materialist approaches to urban recreation.


Figure 1 The “Heal Our Park” badges for urban annotation. Concept by Nancy N. Brown.

Hester Street Collaborative andPartnership for Parks Anne Frederick Kate Louis

Figure 2 Documenting play and recreation in New York City. Documentation by Katherine S. O’Brien.

Step 1: Playing and documenting a game

In this step students were asked to document a game of their choice. The goal was to clearly document every aspect of the game from its inception to its completion (Figure 2) and to diagram its components and its time frame. Step 2: People, Places, and Practices

In this step students were asked to seek out, map, and document the phenomenon of urban recreation in public space (Figure 3). B. Participatory Design Methods and Tools Another goal was to examine if and how citizens take part in participatory processes, in co-designing, and in providing feedback related to urban recreation. An objective to determine the different ways organizations gather information from constituents and stakeholders and translate them into the data useful for designers of parks and other recreational sites. The aims were to develop tools

Urban Play and Recreation

Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) is a nonprofit organization that works to improve public space through a participatory design approach that engages underserved populations, especially youth and new immigrants, in the creation of meaningful places. Partnerships for Parks (PFP) is a publicprivate partnership between the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the nonprofit City Parks Foundation. PFP helps New Yorkers work together to make neighborhood parks thrive, in part by creating opportunities for them to work with government to affect decisions about their parks. HSC and PFP are working together on People Make Parks, a project to help communities participate in the design of their parks. In collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Capital Division, HSC and PFP partnered with Parsons staff and students on the Spring 2009 course Urban Play and Recreation. Early in the semester, we attended classes and presented the missions of our respective organizations and the goals of People Make Parks. Students later visited our offices. They explored Chinatown parks with HSC using their innovative design tools like an interactive walking tour, and they brainstormed about expanding networking opportunities for grassroots park groups throughout the city at the PFP Technical Assistance office. For their final project, students proposed design solutions for everything from facilitating communication at community board meetings, to encouraging citizen participation in park design, to offering workshops that allow peer learning among park steward groups. Our initial expectation of the course was that the students would contribute tangible participatory design tools to People Make Parks. While some students ultimately used their final project to produce usable tools, the openness of the course and the fact that we refrained from requiring strict deliverables allowed students to follow their own process of investigation. They grappled with complex issues like the sanctioned vs. improvised uses of public space, designing play spaces that welcome multiple uses and user groups

we called “playspace” (Steps 1 and 2). The attempt was to recognize, analyze, catalogue, and create taxonomies of standard and non-standard recreational practices in NYC as a series of case studies.

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Partner: urban play

Figure 2 The game begins when a circle is formed and the hackysack is put into play by being tossed to a person standing opposite of them.


Playing can be learned through observation and immitation.

Friendly talk normally occurs before and during the game.

Normally game outsiders stand and watch for a period of time and either join in the game or leave. Game ends when the hacky sack hits the ground or is caught.

Players take away a social prize of having met new people, exercised, improved their sense of coordination and balance.

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for gathering and interpreting the information (Step 3) and to develop protocols that allow citizens to organize themselves independently. Step 3: Hester Street Collaborative participatory design tools

Urban Play and Recreation

In this step our team visited the Hester Street Collaborative (HSC). During this visit HSC presented their participatory design tools and engaged the team in one of their activities: The Walking Tour. In small groups, students analyzed and documented this experience (Figure 6 ). C. Organizations and Actors The objective of this component was to identify all the participants involved in the process of park design and examine the roles different organizations and actors play in this process, the kind of strategies they use to collaborate and share information among themselves and the sites of interaction (i.e. where, when, and how interagency interactions occur) (Step 4). Students and faculty worked on developing tools that would facilitate more effective interactions between organizations whose mission is to design, organize, develop, maintain, and manage urban parks and public space. Step 4: Persona Development


In this step, our team studied roles of organizations and individuals that participate in designing recreational public spaces in NYC. Student teams built personas of fictitious characters (Figure 4 and 5) as repositories of the knowledge gathered about the participating organizations and to simulate relationships between different stakeholders involved in this process. For this purpose we used the list of groups and organizations involved in the development of the East River Park and the Allen and Pike Street Malls provided by the Hester Street Collaborative.

Figure 3

simultaneously, and the challenge of building community consensus in diverse neighborhoods. Following the students on their winding path through NYC parks was far more inspiring for us than the narrow course we initially had in mind. Most importantly, we wanted design students to engage in the life of the city, and we were excited to open the doors of our programs to share the challenges and deep gratification of working with real people in real places to enhance public space. As New Yorkers the students already understood that New York City’s parks serve as our living rooms and backyards and are brought to life by the people who use them. As designers, they learned to navigate the complex structure of city agencies, nonprofits, community organizations, and individual park users and volunteers that all contribute to designing, maintaining, and programming parks. They participated in real venues for citizen participation in city government, attending community board meetings and PFP training. It is rare for students to be forced to fit their ideas into the parameters of the actual functioning of the city, but within these boundaries the students’ design proposals ended up richer, more nuanced, and truly applicable to city parks. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Parsons, both by participating in future courses on play and public space and inviting students and professors to contribute to People Make Parks.

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Figure 4

Figure 3 Using Team Maps to build a collaborative map of urban recreation phenomena in New York City. Team Maps is a product from Map Channels http://www.mapchannels. com/teammaps.aspx that is built using the Google Maps API. Figure 4 Using persona development strategies to identify stakeholder communities and identities.

Scenario Building In the second half of the semester, each student team developed a scenario to address aspects of recreation phenomena, organizations, or participatory methods in ­order to frame specific questions, present tentative strategies, and stimulate conversations with our partners. Students produced “storyspots” (Figure 7) and “storyboards” (a series of “frames” that communicate a logical sequence of events that characterize the proposed scenario) to visualize their ideas. During this process we continuously discussed students’ ideas with our partners for the purpose of receiving critical feedback and validation. The methodological objective of the course was to, at this point, identify at least one “concept opportunity” per student. Concept Generation Each of the scenarios provided a context for multiple equally plausible concepts, which gave students an opportunity to develop individual concept-propositions while remaining within the team framework (Figure 8). After concept opportunities were identified, students developed projects that could work in a systemic way as components of the urban recreation ecologies framework as well as individual leads that could be addressed independently and could generate a range of actionable insights for elaboration in future courses. The class has generated a wealth of ideas, approaches, scenarios, actionable ideas, and projects. Sam Crumpton and Katherine O’Brien developed two different concepts for involving citizens in documenting recreational practices across New York City and creating a comprehensive database that could be accessed by anyone but would explicitly be used by the Department of Parks and Recreation to organize, catalogue, and classify a wealth of images documenting urban recreation in the city


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Figure 5

Urban Play and Recreation


Floral Expert Lynn has owned and run a flower shop with her husband for the past 7 years. They moved to NYC from Shanghai 8 years ago and have 2 children, 9 and 6 who attend the Shuang Wen Elementary School.

Amy has been working to help connect communities with their local park spaces. She is very amiable and enjoys meeting new people.



Age: 42 Education: BBA in progress Skills: Bilingual (Mandarin and English) Experience: Co-Owner of a flower shop at E. Broadway and Clinton. Business degree to be completed 2010 Attitude: Friendly and helpful!

Age: (25-30) Education: Bachelors Degree Skills: Communicating with people. Experience: Community Volunteering, teaching. Attitude: Willing and eager to learn how to better communicate between the city and communities.


ATTRIBUTES Project Objectives: To help people get invovled with their public spaces. Job Priorities: Communication. Likes: People and organizing. Dislikes: Miscommunication Working Tools: Outreach events. Insights & Critical Issues: Creating/spreading appropriate access to information regarding how to get invovled might help people realize that such organizations exist.


There is nothing more dissapointing than finding out no one knows about our programs.

Community Involvement

ACTIVITIES Talking to the designers with community

Organize outreach for community.

Receive and request funding for outreach.

Give classes for volunteers.

Project Objectives: (goals) Job Priorities: (how they deal with problems) Likes: (as pertains to the job) Dislikes: (problem areas related to work, ex. needs more time) Working Tools: (ex. walking tours, games) Insights & Critical Issues: (current problem, how do we change the process to make this person fit in better?)

I want to use my knowledge of flowers to make our community parks more beautiful!


Lynn has been an active member of Community Board #3 because she feels that she can use her knowledge in floral arts and landscape to help beautify her neighborhood. She uses the publicly elected board members to connect her with appropriate organizations like (P4P) Partnerships for Parks.


References: /mancb3/html/home/ home.shtml


Figure 5 Detail views of personas. The personas were used by one group to develop a scripted portrayal of community meetings. This portrayal was shared with partners in order to garner feedback about assumptions students had about community meetings, as well as assumptions that partners held about their role in community meetings. Figure 6 “The Walking Tour” is a technique used by the Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) to help community members learn about the historical and communal richness in their neighborhoods. This is one part of HSC’s “Participatory Design Toolkit.” As one example of design method analysis, students developed critical narratives that followed HSC’s walking tour.

METHODS walking tour

Variety of question formats - Multiple choice - Open ended - Detailed - Open for interpretation

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Figure 6

Informative for individual on tour and a method of information gathering for the HSC staff.

Urban Play and Recreation

- No distinct point at where to start the walk. - Pamphlet didn’t include an image of the installation mentioned.

- Unclear geographic information. No specific map for the walk. - Giving a more detailed map would help non-local visitors to navigate without confusion.

No clear ending point on pamphlet.


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Figure 7


(Figure 9). Individual citizens would document recreational practices of ­interest and upload tagged images to the wiki-driven and web-based interface powered by Google Earth. Images would be organized by zip codes, locations taken, season, etc. The objective was to provide urban researchers, park designers, and the Parks and Recreation Department’s Capital Projects division with a database that can be used to identify contemporary and future needs that are socially and geographically distributed across the five boroughs. In addition, Christina DiPaci proposed an infrastructure for juxtaposing images of future or past use in physical locations where current uses are unsatisfactory or under revision. Such images deployed in parks and sites of urban recreation would create a dialogue and inspire citizen participation in neighborhood groups and community organizations in order to bring desirable changes to urban recreation spaces in their neighborhoods. Naomi Otsu developed an ethnographic research tool designed as a game board, intended for designers of urban play environments to be able to arrive at a deeper understanding of the areas of intervention and the drivers, motivators, and triggers that enable meaningful citizen participation in the processes of design, use, and ­interpretation. The tool is meant to develop empathic skills in designers and allow them to effectively gather ethnographic data needed for their ongoing projects (Figure 10). In order to rethink interagency communication, Jessica Liftman developed a persona-creation kit composed of standard elements. The aim of this kit is to function as a repository of information about all the organizations involved in the conceptualization, design, and maintenance of urban parks. The strength of this tool is in

Figure 7 A storyspot is a single, speculative image presenting a tentative solution. Designed by Jessica Einhorn, Nancy Brown, and Jessica Liftman. Figure 8 Understanding games using the framework of Salen and Zimmerman (e.g. magic circle, lusory attitude, and core mechanic). Cards designed by Naomi Otsu.

Magic Circle

core mechanic

lusory Attitude

A circle or gathering of 2 or more players facing each other

Passing the hacky sack to other players in the circle and entering into informal conversation, while being positive in regards to their actions between one another

Engaging in the passing of one hacky sack from one player towards another player within a circle of players

Magic Circle

lusory Attitude



Magic Circle

lusory Attitude

core mechanic

core mechanic


Fixed limits of player action that are explicit, unambiguous, and shared by all players.



Shared attitude toward the act of playing a game; social contract between players.

A space within which interaction is understood as play, creating a boundary between the world of game and “real life.”


An open area which allows room for multiple players to run, jump, and kick

Urban Play and Recreation

Keep the hacky sack in the air by any means without the use of the palms of your hands.

Kicking or hitting the hacky sack




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Figure 8

The essential momentto-moment interactivity a player enacts.


A social construct that allows for free movement within a more rigid structure.

Sites of social interaction where the public comes together in face-to-face situations. Networks, processes and domains of social interaction where diverse and multiple agents and agencies interact and participate in a variety of configurations.

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Figure 9



Participants from the community keep an eye out for sights that depict what they want for their local recreational spaces.

4 They snap a picture of it and send or upload it to the PlaySpace image database under their name along with geolocational data.

The image is worked into a large mosaic map of the area along with other images according to where the participant lives.

40° 43’ 51“ N, 73° 59’ 51” W



2 Hester Street Collaborative holds an event that gets people motivated about improving their recreational space. Community members sign up for the PlaySpace program.

i wish my park had more trees than trash cans...

6 The participant can use tags and notes to provide an explanation of the image and why it has been uploaded.

visualizing and memorizing the qualitative information about organizational assets that gets commonly lost in the daily practices of organizing the complex system of urban recreation ecologies — and proposing a ­playful way of doing so. In addition, Jessica Einhorn proposed a system, based on the basic features of game play, for reorganizing community board meetings in ways that reduce the urge towards competitive behavior by allowing each participant to create polls and to vote in them. Community board meetings can be politically challenging environments that restrict the capacity to openly exchange information, communicate, and provide feedback to one another. This tool redefines the goals in such a way that participants are encouraged to collaborate through the use of this simple game system with standardized elements and simple rules of ­engagement (Figure 11). Because it was a particular interest to our team to create platforms that would enable Partnership for Parks to reach out to its diverse audiences and enable alternative forms of engagement and participation in local parks, some students focused on developing non-technical interfaces that could be easily implemented. Nancy Brown proposed a multi-player game to take place on “Heal Our Parks” days, whereby individuals and groups would place large color-coded “bandaids” in areas of the park that needed improvement. This approach expands the process of participation by building trust and providing a simple way to gather information. It also fosters park stewardship and face-to-face interaction amongst members of the community around a common and positive goal (Figure 12). Meryl Vedros designed a concept for a treeshaped newspaper stand that would be placed in NYC parks and would contain local park-stewardship groups’ newsletters, information on how to get involved in maintaining local parks, and contact ­information for city agencies and community organizations in charge of recreational spaces and urban parks. Chantelle Fuoco designed

The result is (a) an ever-growing work of art created by the community and (b) statistical information that can be used by Hester Street to determine what the community needs in a recreational space.

Figure 9 Documenting recreational practices across New York City. Concept by Katherine O’Brien. Figure 10 The “Respace” ethnographic research toolbox. Concept by Naomi Otsu.


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Figure 10

Re-designing urban environments, one step at a time.

Developing Ideas

After receiving positive comments of the potential of cards as a form of documentation in the first project, I decided to go on with that form and explore how designers could use it as a ethnographic research tool. Some of the vocabulary terms from the first project was kept - since it was the perfect term that could be used to categorize and explain play in different settings. (See figure A)

Urban Play and Recreation

The cards from “Elaborated Play” were presented as a deck of cards one would recieve to document their own choice of game. (See figure B) Respace was created specifically so that the cards would act as a handy documentation tool. In addition to this, there would be a larger “game board” that would bring the information all together to compare and contrast. Several forms of a gameboard were tested, along with rough prototypes that would experiment with the size and feel of the entire kit.

Figure A

Figure B

Figure C



Re-designing urban environments, one step at a time.

Final Product

Cards were simplified into 3 categories that describe play at the most basic level. The cards are meant to be carried around, hence the smaller size. The board and stickers are for data analysis on a desk.

in the kit...


The box dimensions are inspired from a game board box, giving the user a feeling that theyre opening something fun. Compartments were created to keep the box and data organized.

This sheet helps view the overall information to find similar patterns and differences within the forms of play recorded. Each column represents a input field sticker symbolizes a characteristic from the cards.

Final product includes the following objects, along with a pamphlet that explains how the kit works.

By creating a matrix of visual information, the designer can come up with ideas that can accomodate different types of play.

Data comparison sheet

EXPLORATION CARDS These cards are for recoding various forms of urban recreation from 3 different perspectives.

Environment Physical environment including condition of site and weather. Data collection exploration cards

Lusory Attitude This pamphlet with sticker icons and tools. (Pens, pencils etc.)

The emotional aspect of the game. What is the univeral attitude of the game?

Core Mechanic Detailed description of action. How the game works according to its specific rules.

Urban Play and Recreation

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Figure 11

40 Figure 12

Figure 12 Bag with tools for promoting park stewardship among children. Concept by Chantelle Fuoco.

a system that brings community-based nonprofit groups dedicated to urban parks together with local schools, in order to introduce concepts of community engagement and park stewardship to children in K-5 grades. Rostislav Roznoshchik proposed a multi-player game whose purpose is the creation of collaborative local networks to share knowledges of urban recreation situated in specific communities. Using Partnership for Parks Academy as the site and context, Rostislav’s treasure-hunt-based game leads community members through the discovery of the geography, ecology, and socio-economic aspects of park design.

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Figure 11 An integrated system for sharing ideas, voting for them, and organizing the results at community board meetings. The system builds on concepts that underlie many simple board games. Concept by Jessica S. Einhorn.

Urban Play and Recreation 41

Urban Modeling and Digital Modeling for Urban Design / Green Streets: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation w/ New York City Soil and Water Conservation District w/ Atlas Scientific / S+EM: Tishman Environment and Design Center / Union Square Partnership


Katherine Priebe Bless Yee Elinor Mossop Angad Saluja Edgar Almaguer Claudia Garay Emily Mak Mandissa Whittington Jessica Johnson Daniel Lee Philp Kwok Chris Kim Phillip Crupi Alicia Duque Kendall Tynes

This studio was a core class for Integrated Design’s Urban Area of Study sophomores. Paired with Digital Modeling for Urban Design, we designed new urban models for all of 14th Street, from the East River to the Hudson River.

Digital modeling techniques offer ways to reveal, engage, and communicate the complex life of urban ecosystems. In other words they offer a succinct explanation of the inner workings of previously confusing phenomena such as subway circulation dynamics. In this class we also explored an inclusive definition of ecology by modeling the ecology of the city. This is important as often our shared mental image only references ecology in the city. We offered a multiple-partner approach. This was a pedagogical decision which allowed the studio to be a generator of public space, therefore offering a real world experience for the students. Our studio partners were the Union Square Partnership, Green Streets (NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, Atlas Scientific), Stewardship+Environmental Mapping (S+EM) Project (Tishman Environment and Design Center), Urban Interventions (Integrated Design, SoDS), Urban Dyeing (Integrated Design, SoDS). The Union Square Partnership challenged us to confront practical questions of ­buildability and implementation, for example developing a signage/wayfinding system as well as addressing the various treatments of tree pits along the six-block corridor between First and Sixth Avenues. Our challenge to the students was to create new knowledge rather than simply to fix problems. Following is a description of the concepts introduced in the class, as well as an explanation of the class structure. In our class urban design refers to the academic and professional discipline formed in between architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. It includes both the concerns that architects and landscape architects have for the built environment, as well as the social, economic, and policy concerns of planning. Modeling is used in the title and the book Digital Modeling for Urban Design in every sense of the word. Designers use the term to refer to a three-dimensional miniature, this year’s new car, and a person who exhibits new clothes. A science model is a quantitative demonstration of a theory of how something functions. For policy makers a model is a picture of how the environment ought to be made, a prescription for a “good” form or a “fair” process prototype to follow. Digital refers not only to the technical aspects of computer modeling, programming, and scripting software, but also to the broad and accessible array of popular digital technologies: web browsers, work-flow software, open-sourcing, outsourcing, off-shoring, supplychaining, in-sourcing, in-forming, and a new generation of digital, mobile, personal, and virtual technologies.

Urban Modeling

Victoria Marshall Assistant Professor of Urban Design/School of Design Strategies Brian Mcgrath Digital Modeling for Urban Design/Associate Professor of Urban Design/School of Constructed Environments Phanat Sonemangkhala Digital Modeling for Urban Design/Part-time Faculty/ School of Constructed Environments Eugene Kwak Digital Modeling for Urban Design/Part-time Faculty/ School of Constructed Environments

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“The Union Square Partnership challenged us to confront practical questions of buildability and implementation...[o]ur challenge to the students was to create new knowledge rather than simply fixing problems.”— Victoria Marshall, Assistant Professor of Urban Design


Urban Modeling

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This image diagram maps the interrelationships between the studio partners (brown text) and the class structure (grey text). This part of the diagram includes examples of the framing assignment. On the left side of the diagram is the list of studio partners who were brought together at the partner meeting on March 9th, 2009.

Urban Modeling

Stewardship+Environmental Mapping Tishman Environment and Design Center

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Developing neighborhood partnerships through urban design studios. Partner Meeting March 9, 2009

The shared SoDS and SCE class structure followed the chapters in the book Digital Modeling for Urban Design: Archaeology, Genealogy and Schizoanalysis. The SoDS class structure had two added and parallel assignments: Framing and Seeding. These phases of the class will be described following. The course objectives were to: direct digital skills towards the discipline of urban design, find ways to communicate complexity, reconcile stakeholder conflict, ­understand how cities change over time, and evaluate the role of different urban actors in shaping the city. This studio was a core class for Integrated Design’s Urban Area of Study sophomores. Michel Foucault’s “archaeology of knowledge” distinguishes between the formation of statements and the “non-discursive” formation of ­environments in order to uncover the relationship between words and environments unique to every era. Digital Modeling for Urban Design analyzes the formation of ­urban design as a disruptive discipline and practice and advocates examining urban form as embodying ideas specific to every place and time. Archaeological modeling is therefore a method in analyzing ruptures in physical urban strata as a way of uncovering what Foucault refers to as the stratification of knowledge. Genealogy is based on the premise that historical institutions and other features of social organization evolve not smoothly and continuously, gradually developing their potential through time, but discontinuously, and must be understood in terms of difference rather than continuity as one social formation appropriates and abruptly reconfigures an older institution or revives various features of extant social organizations by selectively recombining them to suit its own purposes. Genealogical modeling operates in two directions: Descent uncovers the “unstable assemblage of faults, fissures, and heterogeneous layers that threaten the fragile inheritor from within or form underneath...The search for descent is not the erecting of foundations: on the contrary, it disturbs what was previously considered immobile; it fragments what was thought unified; it shows the heterogeneity of what was imagined consistent with itself.” Emergence is “the moment of arising. It stands as the principle and the singular law of an apparition. As it is wrong to search for descent in an uninterrupted continuity, we should avoid thinking of emergence as the final term of a historical development…Emergence is always produced through the generation of forces and the analysis of emergence “must delineate this interaction, the struggle these forces wage against each other or against adverse circumstances.” Felix Guattari developed schizoanalysis as a tool to uncover the repressive aspects of capitalism in order to create social experiments to recreate human relations with nature by unleashing the creative capacity of desire. Schizoanalysis primarily analyzes human desire released by capitalist consumerism. For Guattari, “the task of Schizoanalysis is that of learning what a ­subject’s desiring-machines are, how they work, with what syntheses, what bursts of energy, what constituent misfires, with what flows, what chains, and what becomings in each case. This positive task cannot be separated from indispensable destructions, the destruction of…the structures and representations that prevent the machine from functioning.” Framing began by walking 14th Street as a group: from the Hudson River to 7th Avenue, from 7th to 2nd Avenue and from 2nd Avenue to the East River. We documented this slice of Manhattan in relation to three spaces, three inbetweens, and three tools. The goal of this exercise was to become familiar with 14th Street as the basis of the development of a streetscape project where


Designing w/ Urban Modeling 48

students were asked to “seed” the street as a new life-world of their own design. Rather than framing the world as external to us and fixing it in linear time, we experimented with another mode where we were inside of the world and we acted as filters. Our images therefore framed ­intervals-in-time or durations in a world of flowing matter-flux. In other words, we discussed our images as living images. Some notes from the assignment handout are as follows:  ergson describes the world as a universal flux of images where B the body is itself and image among other images — a special kind of image — a center of indetermination which acts as a filter creatively selecting facets of images from the universal flux according to its own capacities. We are embodied viewer-participants in a circuit with information

 raming is a reflective tool that explicitly links everyday life F (body images and digital images) as action in human ecosystem function. It is a relational system for working, thinking and being in the world rather than static picture making. It is also a tool for visually driven individuals to learn and understand thoughts, ideas, and theories; not just printing pictures. Framing is therefore about the process of figuring things out.


Notes on Streetscape and

/ Public Space Every streetscape has multiple and overlapping territorial, symbolic, and digital claims to ownership. 14th Street is no exception. Through our field work, meeting site partners, and digital modeling, we will learn to recognize and understand 14th Street as a contested landscape. Some examples of its overlapping claims are: public-private partnerships, privately owned public space, publicly owned public space, virtual public space, public events and public infrastructures. These publics do not by virtue of their naming perform as truly public spaces. It is the comprehension of all of these and more in action that have the potential to be truly public. Therefore we will attempt to make sensible this diversity of claims and actions in our streetscape designs. / Change Agents Miodrag Mitrasinovic in his book Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space describes a homogenizing force which he calls “total landscape.” It is “a totalizing force which is brought to a state of perfection when the inner workings are perfectly concealed.” He uses theme parks and business improvement districts such as Bryant Park as examples. In this total landscape:  ne cannot be critical about it because one cannot critically eno gage in the processes of its production. Ironically, the image that perfectly optimized artifice conveys is one of simplicity. This is the paradox of total landscape; that is, there is no such thing as simplicity, if and when it appears, it is only a mask for complexity.  rahame Shane introduces the concept of heterotopias as a third city eleG ment (the other two are in his book Recombinant Urbanism enclaves and armatures). Heterotopias are change agents as they handle exceptions in nonlinear systems such as cities. Heterotopias facilitate “dynamic imbalance and rapid shifts between urban paradigms.” Total landscape might be understood as a type of heterotopia that is becoming normalized. Some of our site partners desire total landscape, others do not. We will attempt to build on this diversity of desires toward the design of new inclusive and heterogeneous urban models as spectacular and radiant streetscape designs.

Urban Modeling/Notes on Streetscape

In the Seeding assignment students created computer-generated drawing systems as a way to perceive and understand expanded social and environmental relationships, as well as to turn everyday image-making toward an activist model of engaging and enabling new experiences of the world. To get started students were offered “five notes” to set the tone for discussion and imagination. These notes were as follows:

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and the installations we create function as laboratories for the conversion of information into corporeally apprehensible images.


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/ Ecosystems The understanding of time and scale in the ecological model of sustainability is often misunderstood. Van Der Leeuw and Aschan state: “The noble ambition of those proclaiming a sustainable development seems difficult to realize, as it is a long term project which necessarily implies a general change in prevailing attitudes as all levels in most societies, the individual and the governmental level, as well as all levels in-between.” Unlike the ecological model of sustainability and even the goal of adaptation that presume social systems are the dominant dynamic, the urban ecosystem approach stresses the reciprocity between the social and the natural dynamics, and underlies the importance of change as a means of survival. According to Gunderson: “[Resilience is] the capacity of a system to absorb and utilize or even benefit from perturbations and changes that attain it, and so to ­persist without a qualitative change in the system’s structure.” The important ­concept here is maintaining flexibility and functional soundness rather than the capacity of a system to return to some fixed or equilibrium point after perturbation. In practice, maintaining a capacity for renewal in a dynamic environment





Urban Interventions ID BFA School of Design Strategies

/ Urban Mobility We are living in the first urban century, and humans are still learning to live in cities. Unlike rural immigrant populations who carry with them knowledge of how to reinvent their urban environment, in the United States and elsewhere urban lifestyles are marketed to intra-city suburban refugees. Our streetscapes will offer a lifestyle based on the urban ecosystem approach, where the highest and best use development practices are joined with a belief that urban development can help connect people more directly to natural resources. For most new migrants a change of address requires only a minor adjustment due to the repetition and recombination of familiar urban elements such as strips, malls, and leisure and cultural districts. The integration of responsive environments as new life-worlds into streetscapes and amenities aims to offer greater transparency, legibility, and agency in the consumer development model. Development is not just a process of addition, but rather of revelation of the multiple hidden sites and time scales that would allow new residents to ­process, in the time they have available, all the information necessary to effectively mitigate, adapt, and interact with the complex dynamics of the urban system as a whole. This is a goal for streetscape design to function as an interface between long-term ecosystem change and the itinerant nature of our contemporary lifestyles. These are also called “designed attentive circuits” as they build on the distracted attention of our everyday life such as the repeated rhythms of what we do from when we wake up to when we go to bed (e.g. commuting, studying etc.) How can our streetscapes as symbolic, digital, and socio-natural landscapes engage these circuits toward the emergence of new public spaces? Our students presented their final project to the Union Square Partnership; Jennifer Falk, William Kelley, The New School Faculty: Joseph Heathcott,

/Notes on Streetscape

Archeology of distribution and consumption in Chelsea; archeology of Stuyvesant Cove. Genealogy of activism in Union Square.

/ Urban Experiments Patch dynamics is a core concept in contemporary ecosystem science that seeks to explain complex systems within which biological components — including humans — interact with physical environments over time. Scientists develop models based on theoretical frameworks within physical limits in order to test core concepts — such as at the Hubbard Brook experimental forest in New Hampshire, where small watersheds on nearly impervious granite slopes have been monitored for the past 40 years. This process of monitoring small watersheds has been transferred to urban models in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), a Long Term Ecological Research project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Urban patch dynamics models involve the identification of patch areas based on distinct land cover compositions. Defined by patch boundaries these landcover signatures modulate the flows of people, information, materials, water, and nutrients. Patch dynamics is the operation between these patches in time, and as an urban design model it is a way of understanding the heterogeneity of the contemporary urban landscape and the ecology of the city. This is important as often our shared mental image only references ecology in the city. How can our streetscape designs work as living experiments, where urban actors are everyday experts involved in important ecosystem observation, monitoring, and feedback cycles as part of everyday life?

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entails the provision of an ecological buffer that protects the system from the failure of management actions that are taken based upon incomplete understanding, and it allows managers to affordably learn and change.


Designing w/ Urban Modeling 52


The Union Square Partnership is a community-based, nonprofit organization working to provide a variety of programs and services: facilitating ongoing development by acting as a liaison among residents, business, and government leaders; advocating for neighborhood enhancements; offering support to business owners, and spearheading longterm area improvements.


S+EM ( is an environmental mapping and social networking design project that links New York City trees with the people who care for them by providing the database and networking software for tree stewards to record and track their work while linking to other tree stewardship initiatives at the individual or neighborhood level.

Atlas Scientific has planted solar-powered microcomputers, forming a network of sensors that monitor groundwater flow in NYC Green Streets. Their goal is to apply networked computer systems and expertise in biology and ecology to provide better understanding of urban ecosystem fluxes at a local level.

Union Square Partnership

Final Review Digital Modeling for Urban Design. School of Constructed Environments. Urban Modeling, School of Design Strategies.

/Notes on Streetscape

Urban Dyeing ID BFA School of Design Strategies

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Green Streets NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, Atlas Scientific

Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Anthony Deen, Jose Dejesus, Philip Silva, Liz Barry, and their student peers. Each group shared a five-minute video which presented the skills they had learned in software instruction in the class by Phanat Sonemangkhala and Eugene Kwak such as Google Earth Pro, Sketchup, Flash, and Premier. Some of the questions we asked of ourselves and the students were: what does this way of working reveal as a design proposal? What is it in service of? The students brought forward spaces which were closely tied to their everyday experiences in traversing the multiple zones of ownership and management which constitute any slice of the city. The student project by Elinor Mossop, Katie Priebe, and Bless Yee offered a landscape strategy to enable the 14th Street community to increase their public space. The project learned from the community gardens in the East Village as well as archaeology of the colonial West Village farming lifestyle. Using the local buses which continuously loop between the West Village and the East Village as an attentive circuit armature, the students proposed a street surface paint project, a bus shelter interface, as well as a three-dimensional rooftop circulation system of stairs, elevators, new doors, and sensors. All of these elements were linked with mobile plants, cultivated for their natural dyes, pleasure, and stormwater mitigation qualities. Bus shelters as slow space interfaces provide real-time data and a visual record of roof-scape and streetscape activities such as harvest dates, fashion events, and heat island performance. This summer the urban dyeing students have been sponsored by the Union Square Partnership in the first phase of their planting program. They were generously provided with several plots, and with a plant-purchase grant they have installed plants and taken responsibility for their maintenance. In spring 2010 Victoria Marshall will be teaching a collab called Urban Dyeing which introduces new students to this ongoing project. What emerged from this multiple-partnership class is the realization that our imagination of 14th Street is much more than a two-dimensional surface. Our partner meeting, fieldwork, interim partner meetings, interim partner review, and final review of the work opened up the three-dimensional life of the street. For example, we became inclusive of the experience of being in and emerging out of the subway, looking out of our school windows onto rooftops, and looking out of bus windows into community gardens and shopping malls. We saw the views of tourists fashion-seekers and local fashion-seekers juxtaposed with meat-packers and sex clubbers. We saw the cultures of activism and protest re-emerging after cycles of demolition and injustice. Statues, clothes, meat, plants, and paint all became spectacular and 足distinctive local urban actors in the flow of urban matter-flux. This thick city section emerged as a shared image for the class, as something that is alive with potential.



Urban Modeling

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Brian McGrath, Digital Modeling for Urban Design, London: Wiley, 2008. HYPERLINK “ of_criticism/v011/11.2guattari.html” \l “authbio1#authbio1” Félix Guattari, Schizoanalysis, Trans. by Mohamed Zayani, The Yale Journal of Criticism 11.2 (1998) pp. 338/404.

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S o ur ces

Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2006.

Lance Gunderson, “Ecological Resilience — In theory and Application,” Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 2000. 31:425-39

/Notes on Streetscape

Sander E. van der Leeuw and Chr. Aschan Leygonie, “A Long-Term Perspective On Resilience In SocioNatural Systems.” Paper presented at the workshop on System shocks system resilience held in Abisko, Sweden, May 22-26, 2000.

Grahame Shane, Recombinant Urbanism. London: Academy Press, 2005.


Urban Interventions / Union Square Partnership


Eric Akashi Mayra Cimet Dattoli Courtney Dransfield Sarah Feldman Kelsey Meuse-Hassinger Mirna Raduka Kay Megumi Saida Ghila Valabrega Yiling Yeh Lora Yoon

We were open to the class pushing things by combining forms and ideas in order to create diverse responses. We had few rules in hopes of students having a range of experiences, but we asked each student to address each subject and method in the course of doing three projects. This could mean combining sculpture with a graphic component to talk about aesthetics and business, which was what Mirna Radulku did in her first intervention, Fig 1. For the first project we asked students to start by doing research on the Union Square area — whether an historic event, social aspect, or cultural use — that looked at the relationship between its past, the present, and the future. From their findings students made a small-scale, inexpensive, ephemeral intervention in Union Square Park. The only caveats were that it be safe and portable. As the class was slowly getting into the idea of working outside and somehow intervening in the public’s path, the results were varied and thoughtful.

Urban Interventions


Our class, Urban Interventions, used Union Square Park and its environs as a studio in which students responded with work that utilized art, play, and ­activism. Ben and I focused the class on the three topics of nature, aesthetics, and commerce (a covert way of saying the whole world), which could be responded to through sculpture, performance, and graphics. We asked students to consider the whole arc of a project, from research, cost, fabrication, and installation to what to do with it when deinstalled.

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Jim Osman Assistant Professor/ School of Design Strategies Ben Katchor Associate Professor in the Illustration Program/ Parsons the New School for Design


“From their findings, students made a smallscale, inexpensive, ephemeral intervention in Union Square Park. The only caveats were that it be safe and portable...” — Jim Osman, Assistant Professor

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Fig 1. Mirna Radulka Mirna was thinking about packaging and waste (and her own collection of plastic shopping bags clogging her closet at home) and came up with a simple intervention. She would collect bags from friends and neighbors and from them make a large six-foot-high bag. The large bag had a quilt-like modern look with a combination of motifs, logos, and designs. She installed the bag in Union Square to collect more bags, hoping, in effect, to bring awareness to the volume of packaging in our lives and also to start a recycling campaign. Fig 2. Yiling Yeh Yiling looked at the construction in the north end of the park that bordered an east–west path. It was dirty, grim, and constricted by a chain link fence that she wanted to transform with a simple object of beauty: flowers. Knowing that the area is dirty and crowded, she had to make something that was durable and could be taken down fast because the fence was moved from time to time due to construction. She first made a felt pattern that duplicated the chain link pattern and covered it in flowers made of recycled plastic. The flowers had a delicate look but were sturdy enough to survive the weather and pedestrian traffic. Fig 3. Kelsey Meuse Kelsey wanted to explore nature with light in a project called “Luminairies.” In her own words:

 uminairies are small lights that illuminate when the wind is L blowing,” she explains on her Web site. “They are meant to be installed in the trees in Union Square as an urban intervention, but have many other applications. By infusing the currents of air in the park with actual electrical current, luminairies visualize the natural climate to the park’s visitors. It is my goal that this fusion of electric and organic will make passersby more aware of the ebb and flow of their natural surroundings.”

View of the collection bag, already partially filled with the bags of passersby, in Union Square on a rainy Sunday Detail of the chain link pattern, produced in gray felt with  artificial flowers, handmade by the artist

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These three projects give a snapshot of the 30-odd works created during the course of the semester. Some as simple as a drawing made with masking tape on a picnic table, to social interventions by reading aloud only the good things in that day’s edition of The New York Times in Union Square (a short read that day), or several seating/sculpture installations that invited public interaction. One of the most interesting aspects of the class to us was that the students had distinct political and cultural observations that they wanted to realize in the work but had difficulty in finding the right method and skill set to do so. And since our intention from the beginning of the class was that ideas had to be realized with drawings, models, and full-scale projects, things became complex and messy at times. So students had to research materials and associated methods and then learn how to work with them as a project developed. We hope that the students came away from this class with an understanding of the full spectrum of interventions possible within the urban fabric — from engaging in the street life of 14th Street by simply taking a walk, to conceiving, building, and installing “artworks” in the park. In the process, the students gained an awareness of the many levels of craftsmanship required to implement their projects — from ideas, to working drawings, to the construction of physical objects. Through a critical appraisal of their “interventions,” each student came to understand intertwining political, social and aesthetic aspects of their work and its effect upon the public.

Close-ups of the production of the LED lights, which were attached to real leaves before they were installed on a shrub


Next_F Project / The Fortune Society


Fidelma Hawney Hanifa Haris Katherine Priebe Lauren Vellek Tara Tan

Next_F was the first service design course at Parsons School of Design Strategies. Service design focuses on experiences that reach people over time. Designing for services thus means designing the conditions for the experiences and, consequently, all the tangible and intangible interfaces between ­providers and users of a given service. This includes all the touch points through which users will experience a service offering, including products, tools, space, and communication elements. While we connect to services through a myriad of sectors (from health care to tourism, from transportation to personal care), the Next_F course focused on human services and, in particular, on services for the reintegration of formerly incarcerated people. Next_F was proposed as a partnership between Parsons and The Fortune Society, a distinguished not-for-profit organization offering formerly incarcerated people such reintegration services as career development, health care, counseling and family advice, education, and housing. In initial meetings with The Fortune Society, we learned they wanted to work with Parsons to design new services or redesign existing ones to impact the overall experience of their clients by enhancing their “sense of community,” in the beginning of the client’s engagement with the organization. The Fortune Society has grown and changed in the 40 years it has been in existence. Staff felt they needed to reconnect with clients on a human level in order for Fortune to be perceived by clients as a community rather than an institution. With this in mind, we structured the course around a “designing with” model, focusing on the human quality of the experience of Fortune’s clients and staff. One major part of our process was dedicated to identifying, analyzing, and working through an understanding of the important emotional events in the beginning of the client’s journey. To do that, we had several co-design sessions with clients and staff that directly informed students’ design decisions.

Next_F Project

Lara Penin Assistant Professor of Transdisciplinary Design/ School of Design Strategies Shana Agid Director of Academic Projects/Assistant Professor/School of Art, Media & Technology Savitri Lopez-Negrete Research Assistant/ School of Design Strategies

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“Students reflected on these contextual factors in their observations of Long Island City and incarceration in New York and these were recurring themes in the course, and throughout the co-design process.”— Lara Penin, Assistant Professor of Transdisciplinary Design

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Figure 1  The Next_F course structure in three phases. The red boxes correspond to participatory activities.

Figure 1

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The Fortune Society Miriam Bernard

Figure 5 Co-creation session at Fortune (pictures Savitri Lopez-Negrete) Figure 2 “Metal jungle” Long Island City

Figure 5

Next_F Project

The Fortune Society works to support the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated men and women and promotes alternatives to incarceration. Co-located in Long Island City, Queens, and in West Harlem, The Fortune Society sees nearly 3,500 men and women each year, providing a broad range of wraparound supportive services that value each clients’ strengths and experience. In the winter of 2009 The Fortune Society partnered with Parsons The New School for Design to embark on an exciting new course in service design, the Next_F Project. Together, Fortune and Parsons The New School for Design created a new vision through the Next_F project that far transcended what any of us could have individually imagined. This unique and innovative experience brought the perspectives of students, clients, staff, volunteers, and faculty together, working on a truly collaborative and hands-on project, through which we discovered solutions to challenges that we’d never even considered. One of the greatest strengths of the Next_F project was that everyone who came in contact with the project walked away with new knowledge and a new perspective. Certainly, our clients and staff were delighted to see their ideas and knowledge put to work in creating effective and thoughtful designs that could dramatically improve each client’s experience. Meanwhile, the students and faculty from Parsons found themselves deeply engaged in what the experience of one of our clients, just coming home from jail or prison, might involve. The end result was a series of ideas and models that not only strengthen our service delivery and enable us to more seamlessly further our mission and work, but also provide a new way of thinking and seeing the work that we do every day. Partnerships such as this one encourage artists and service organizations not only to share the road to a greater community, but allow them to build that road together. We are grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this wonderful project and are delighted to continue that partnership through a new course this coming year.

The Process The course was structured in three phases (Figure 1). The first phase was dedicated to observing and analyzing the main issues at stake through visits to the organization and employment of basic ethnographic methods such as observation, interviews, photo surveys, informal talks with staff and clients, and exploration of the space and the overall atmosphere. Students also explored Fortune’s surroundings in Long Island City to understand how the context plays a role in determining the clients’ experience (figure 2). Students studied documents produced in advance by faculty and analyzed the current service offerings at Fortune by deconstructing the main service design components: the core offering of the main services, the services ecology, the main interactions, and touch points. In the second phase students engaged the social, political, historical, and emotional factors that bear on incarceration and reintegration. A theoretical dive focused on the contexts that surround The Fortune Society and issues faced by people coming home from prisons and jails or trying to stay outside the system. Students read Invisible Punishment: An Instrument of Social Exclusion by Jeremy Travis and the introduction to Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s book Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. They began to frame both the historical trajectory that has led to the United States having the highest incarceration rate in the world and the cultural and ­political contexts that determine who is most impacted by that system (e.g. race, class, gender, immigration status, etc.), as well as legal restrictions on housing, employment, and education when people come home. From this perspective we were able to discuss stereotypes of prisoners and former prisoners and how those might impact both clients and staff at Fortune and our own design processes. Students reflected on these contextual factors in their observations of Long Island City and incarceration in New York, and these were recurring themes in the course and throughout the co-design process.

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Partner: Next_F Project


Next_F Project

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Figure 3


Figure 4

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Co-creation session at Fortune Figure 3 and 4 Different versions of Client Journey Map, analysis of current services (top), and new service proposal (bottom)

This debate provided an important basis for the participatory activities that followed: in-depth analysis of the current services intertwined with idea generation. For that students produced the first version of the Client Journey Map (Figures 3 and 4) and discussed it in a workshop with Fortune clients and staff (Farrad Manson, Francisco Gonzalez, Glen Graham and Pat Murtaugh), making use of a series of interactive tools to verify clients’ journey patterns and their motivations. This activity resulted in an important outcome: the identification of key emotional moments when a client begins to “feel part of something” and creates a very deep and special connection with Fortune as a community. We learned that this moment often occurs after several months. For the kind of impact we were looking for, we would have to bring this moment up front, at the beginning of the client’s engagement with Fortune’s services. From these conclusions, students developed an initial set of tentative ideas, focusing on how to improve clients’ engagement by bringing the key emotional moments to an earlier point on the service journey. Students presented their initial ideas to clients using cards with images and started to envision potential service scenarios. The third phase focused on design development, starting with a ­debriefing of client and staff feedback, going back to the Client Journey Map and visualizing services scenarios. In the meantime, we visited the Castle (Fortune’s

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Figure 7


housing facility) and gained further insights about clients’ engagement. Students created and visualized three to four scenarios for new services and programs and conducted an interim consultation with clients and other Parsons faculty. They developed their projects further and presented them in a structured session at Fortune to members of the Fortune community, including clients, former clients, and staff (Pat Murtaugh , Glen Martin, Ray Tebout, Nancy Lopez, Yolanda Morales, Miriam Barnard) (Figures 5 and 6). Going back into the studio, each student group selected one main concept and then dedicated the final weeks to designing the new services’ systems and artifacts. The final results were presented at Parsons for critique to clients and staff from Fortune who had participated in the process (Figure 7). The Projects Bringing Fortune to the Streets by Fidelma Hawney, Hanifa Haris, Lauren Vellek The project “Bringing Fortune to the Streets” developed from students’ observations that when clients are released from Rikers Island, New York City’s biggest jail, they are often dropped off late at night in Long Island City with no directions for where to go or how to get to The Fortune Society, which is nearby. The project addresses yet another issue: The Fortune Society has a somewhat shy presence in Long Island City (Figure 8), despite its importance

Figure 7 Final presentation at Parsons (picture Eduardo Staszowski) Figure 9 Finding your way to The Fortune Society

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Figure 9

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Figure 10


Long Island Street D

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Figure 10 Urban elements as part of the wayfinding system

Next_F Project

Long Island City Street Dots Re-Creating the Subway System Color Coordination above Ground


R Sy

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as a relevant organization in the neighborhood and the extremely important social work it offers. To respond to both issues, the team proposed a wayfinding system for Fortune’s clients (Figure 9) that also gives visibility to Fortune as a key organization in the neighborhood: I n a world where formerly incarcerated individuals are not looked at with high regard, “Bringing Fortune to the street” puts the clients of Fortune on the streets in a way that shows how important their presence is as individuals who are more than just formerly incarcerated. We are simply bringing Fortune from the background to the foreground. Figure 10 Urban elements as part of the wayfinding system

In practice the team explored the urban fabric in Long Island City both on a physical level (sidewalks, the train high line, walls) and in terms of its constituency (other relevant organizations, such as MoMA PS1, the Isamu Noguchi Foundation, the Tiffany Museum, and others). The wayfinding system makes


Figure 11 Green wall component

Figure 10

Long Island City Street Dots Re-Creating the Subway System Color Coordination above Ground


Long Island City Street Dots Re-Creating the Subway System Color Coordination above Ground

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Next_F Project 77


Next_F Project

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Figure 13


Figure 13 The Buddy System storyboard

Figure 14

Next_F Project

Figure 14 The Buddy System map

The Buddy System by Tara Tan, Katie Priebe The “The Buddy System” project proposes a “client-to-client buddy group for support and friendship,” exploring the potential of informal social networks, in particular between long-term and new clients. The core of this concept is based on a horizontal principle, a system “by the clients, for the clients,” with limited Fortune staff intervention, that instigates responsibility and leadership among clients. The concept aims at the enhancement of the experience of being a client at Fortune, focusing on socialization aspects, bringing forward “the ‘feeling welcomed, and at home’ moment” (Figure 12). In practice new clients can join the buddy group when they first meet the admissions intake coordinator. They meet one of the buddies — volunteer long-term clients — who introduces them to Fortune’s services and gives them the welcome kit, a specially made bag containing a set of basic personal items, including pens and pencils, a journal, laundry quarters, envelopes and stamps, that new clients often do not have when they have just been released. For clients who will be going to The Castle, Fortune’s housing facility, the welcome kit also includes a set of non-disposable dishes (Figure 13). The idea is that the buddies will do things together in a positive spirit, making the most of existing opportunities such as free events that are often not accessed. The students’ original ideas for this concept evolved through at least three iterations during the semester based on suggestions and insights given by Fortune staff and clients. In the last workshop at Fortune, for example, it was suggested that the system could involve volunteers from local religious organizations who often approach Fortune looking for volunteer opportunities (Figure 14). The concept has also created mechanisms to prevent individual buddies from being over-burdened by relying on the buddies group and ­dealing with issues collectively. It also includes a consistent communication channel between the buddy leader and Fortune staff to deal with major issues.

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use of geometric shapes and colors (Figure 10) and has ultimately evolved into the idea of creating a “green path” built with a green wall component (Figure 11).


Colophon This publication documents the work done by the School of Design Strategies, Parsons The New School for Design in collaboration with external partners in New York City and New Orleans in Spring of 2009. This book is printed on-demand by Micropage. ty pe fac es

Janson Text Akkurat des i gn

Pure+Applied p r oof r e ad i n g

Natalie Shivers Designing w/ Videos director /e d i tor /ca m e r a / p r o d uce r

Alice Arnold exec u t i v e pr od u c e r

Eduardo Staszowski p r od u ct i on c oor d i n ato r

Savitri Lopez-Negrete p r od u ct i on as s i sta n t

Michelle Betton sou nd d es i g ne r /c o m p o s e r

Genji Siraisi sou nd

Fivel Rothberg Jordan Cooke tit l e s equ e n c e

Pure+Applied Acknowledgments Miodrag Mitrasinovic Alice Arnold Savitri Lopez-Negrete

“The New School has a long tradition of civic engagement, and external partnerships are one of the ways that we’re able to really build on that tradition and work in collaboration, learn from and help communities to learn what sorts of options are before them, to address the challenges and opportunities that exist in their schools, in their local neighborhoods, and we are very actively seeking the opportunity to, not go in as experts, but to go in as partners and work with communities around New York City and around the country and, increasingly, globally, because we all benefit from it. So, students get to get practical experience in the world, but they also learn how to learn from the partnership.” — Joel Towers, Dean, Parsons The New School for Design

Designing W/  

DW/ documents the work done by the School of Design Strategies at Parsons in collaboration with external partners in NYC and New Orleans in...

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