desigNYC Announces 2013 “Healthy Communities” Projects
Pairing Eight Extraordinary Nonprofits with Pro Bono Design Professionals to Improve the Lives of New Yorkers
And Launches desigNYClab, a New Service for the Nonprofit Community
New York, NY—January 22, 2013 – desigNYC (www.designyc.org), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of New Yorkers through the power of design, announces 2013’s selection of eight nonprofit and designer collaborations. This year’s theme — Healthy Communities — supports nonprofit initiatives that promote physical activity in urban spaces, create tools for health outreach programs, and provide access to fresh foods.
The eight teams selected this year are composed of nonprofits serving the public good paired with civic-minded design professionals who share their expertise on a pro bono basis. Working collaboratively, along with a desigNYC advisor who guides the process, the teams will tackle projects that promote healthier living.
In addition, three nonprofit organizations have been selected to participate in desigNYC Lab, an intensive, one-day, workshop tailored for each of the nonprofits. This new initiative was created in response to the large number of applications from nonprofits that first need strategic direction to uncover most important opportunities before engaging in a project collaboration. The goal is to work collaboratively with the desigNYC Lab to help shape an actionable project that could be taken on by desigNYC or other design collaborators in the future.
“With the 35+ desigNYC projects that are in progress or have already been realized, we continue to demonstrate that good design is a powerful tool to improve people’s lives and can open new possibilities,” says desigNYC Executive Director Laetitia Wolff. “‘Healthy Communities’ is a timely theme, and we are looking forward to working with our teams to create community gardens for seniors, and design one-of-a-kind advocacy tools, in addition to launching desigNYC Lab, which expands our organization’s educational mission.”
For the fourth consecutive year, desigNYC held an open call to the nonprofit community for great project ideas and the design community for offers of pro bono design service. A jury of a dozen design professionals selected this year’s group of nonprofits and matched them with professionals from the architecture, landscape, interiors, and communications design disciplines. The jury also selected the nonprofits for the inaugural desigNYClab desigNYC Lab series.
“The projects selected this year represent the theme in diverse and interesting ways and are not obvious choices if one thinks in terms of physical health per se,” says Lisa Green, partner at Selldorf Architects and chair of desigNYC project collaborations committee. “Rather, they are strategies for providing access to resources that can lead to a healthier way of life and more sustainable neighborhoods – all of which we feel can be improved through better design.”
On February 5, 2013, desigNYC will hold a private Kickoff Summit where this year’s nonprofits, design teams, and advisors will meet for the first time and begin to strategize ways to achieve their projects’ goals.
2013 Built Environment Projects and Teams
Nonprofit: Central Harlem Senior Citizens’ Council – Harlem, Manhattan
The mission of the Central Harlem Senior Citizens Center is to provide services to all senior citizens in the Central Harlem community and beyond, ensuring their dignity, self-worth, and a sense of pride.
Design Partner: Alison Duncan Landscape Architect
Design Need: A community garden so seniors can have access to more fresh food.
Advisor: Rob Goodwin, Perkins + Will
Nonprofit: el Puente – South Williamsburg, Brooklyn
El Puente is a community human rights community organization that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of adult and youth members in the arts, education, wellness and environmental action.
Design Need: A “botanica cart” with mobile capabilities so they can provide services and gather information about alternative medicinal practices with the Latino community.
Design Partners: FGDesign Studio with Pablo Decan
Advisor: Michael Piper, DUB-studios
Nonprofit: Weeksville Heritage Center – Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
The Weeksville Heritage Center is a multi-dimensional museum dedicated to preserving the history of what was once a vibrant 19th century community of free African-Americans.
Design Need: They need an interior design strategy for the newly restored historic garage, that will feature interpretive displays about green educational programs, a storage area for their gardening and farmers market-related activities, including an aquaponics demonstration area. Design Partner: MAD Matiz Architecture & Design
Advisor: Joan Krevlin, BKSK
2013 Communications Projects and Teams
Nonprofit: Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn
The institute designs, incubates, and replicates community-based behavioral interventions in trusted venues that empower individuals to address health conditions that unequally affect multi-ethnic communities.
Design Need: Rebranding compelling new materials to grow their program that uses barbershops and beauty parlors throughout the borough as places to engage customers in conversation and counseling around wellness education and empowerment. Design Partner: WSDIA
Advisor: Fernando Music, Spring Creative
Nonprofit: City Life Is Moving Bodies (CLIMB), Washington Heights, Manhattan
CLIMB is a community-based initiative founded on the belief that safe parks are essential to community health as they combat problems such as sedentary lifestyles and obesity.
Design Need: A community map system for an urban hiking trail that connects Central Park to parks in northern Manhattan, such as the Cloisters and Highbridge Park.
Design Partners: Youarethecity with AILW (Aki Ishida and Lynnette Widder)
Advisor: Alfred Zollinger, Matter Architecture Practice
Nonprofit: Fourth Arts Block (FAB), East Village, Manhattan
As the leadership organization for the East 4th Street Cultural District, now a neighborhood-wide coalition of 27 cultural groups dedicated to preserving local culture by advocating, aggregating best practices to build community cohesion.
Design Need: A tool-kit for their SUSTAIN (Steering Urban Sustainability through Action, Innovation, and Networks) program, and an on- and off-line graphic system that can be shared with residents and other organizations to replicate the program in other neighborhoods across the city.
Design Partners: Field Office with Default
Advisor: Dan Latorre, The Wise City
Nonprofit: FoodFight, Manhattan
With a mission to revolutionize the way we eat and think about food, this organization empowers public school teachers, students, and staff with knowledge and the tools they need to make healthier choices and programs and become agents of change for their families and communities.
Design Need: A visual design that will improve the appeal, readability, and functionality of their food literacy curriculum.
Design Partner: Gabriele Wilson Design
Advisor: Roman Luba, Publicis Kaplan Thaler
Nonprofit: Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Lower East Side, Manhattan
As developers of affordable housing and advocates for all residents and merchants in the culturally diverse and economically challenged neighborhoods of the Lower East Side, they offer community-based programs and strategic partnerships.
Design Need: After the closing of a local supermarket, the community needs visual design services for their Food Access Guide to local fresh food related businesses, categorized by price, benefits acceptance, offerings, in the form of a multi-language free handout with an online component.
Design Partner: TODA
Advisor: David Kohler, OTTO NY
2013 desigNYC Lab Participants
Milk Not Jails, Brooklyn, is a volunteer group composed of prison justice activists, farmers, artists, and the formerly incarcerated, that strives to end upstate communities’ dependency on local prison economics and, instead, invest in an alternative agricultural economy.
First Street Green, Lower East Side, Manhattan, works toward creating a permanent cultural park in the space that was host to the 2011 BMW Guggenheim Lab and offers in the meantime, a wide range of programming.
Sustainable South Bronx, Hunts Point, The Bronx, provides a collaborative model that addresses environmental, economic, and social concerns through green job training, community greening programs, and environmental education for the South Bronx and other under-served urban communities.
2013 Collaboration with Parsons The New School for Design
The second new component of the “Healthy Communities” initiative is a collaboration with Parsons School of Design Strategies. Under the leadership of instructor Rhea Alexander, and with Laetitia Wolff as teaching partner, graduate students will work in small groups and implement a range of research methods, ideation processes, and feasibility studies to provide strategic proposals for Build It Green! and serial desigNYC grantee Lower East Side Ecology Center.
2013 Judges and Advisors
Bob Balder, executive director, Cornell University’s NYC College of Architecture, Art and Planning
Maddy Burke-Vigeland, principal, Gensler
Robert Goodwin, design director, Perkins + Will
Andrea Kahn, founder, designCONTENT
David Kohler, principal, OTTO NY
Joan Krevlin, partner, BKSK
Daniel Latorre, senior fellow, Projects for Public Spaces
Roman Luba, VP creative director, Publicis Kaplan Thaler
Gareth Mahon, senior associate, Robin Key Landscape Architecture
Chelsea Mauldin, executive director, Public Policy Lab
Fernando Music, director of client services, Spring Creative
Michael Piper, principal, DUB-studios
Anne Rieselbach, director of programs, Architecture League
Rupal Sanghvi, founder, healthxdesign
Emily Weidenhof, project manager, NYC DOT, Division of Traffic & Planning
Alfred Zollinger, principal, Matter Architecture Practice
Lisa Green, partner, Selldorf Architects
Michelle Mullineaux, VP marketing & business development, ESI Design
Laetitia Wolff, executive director, desigNYC