Parsons DESIS Lab and No Longer Empty asked for help in designing new models for public agency, NYC office of imagination, to promote social innovations and enhancing the community resilience in the Lower East Side(LES) of Manhattan.
I did field research include interview, ethnographic research in LES and identified focused design inquiry. LES is famous as an immigrant area yet it is now becoming known more for the gentrification occurring there. The problem our design team identified is not gentrification itself but rather how gentrification has a negative effect on new businesses. There are issues of distrust toward newcomers that build on a lack of community acceptance. The local community boards may also be too much of a policy routine to allow any empathetic conversations between entrepreneurs with good intentions and locals with open-minds.
I co-designed a system for a imaginary NYC agency to help solve problem of communication in LES between the residents and new business owners through design charlotte and prototypes.
Doremy Diatta, Melike Kavran, Shahrezad Morssal, Rachelle Tai
TALK ON THE BLOCK is to neutralize the tension by keeping the concerns of local historic values and balancing a positive economic development. It collects residents stories and visions, block by block. By creating it’s own neighborhood map, thinking about the past, present and future, residents own their block. It uses what they shared to contribute into the culture around new businesses.
This model of participatory government agency platform for communities can easily scale to different cities.