One of the criticisms of the sustainability movement is that it is targeted at wealthy individuals who can afford hybrid cars and organic produce. But what about NYC’s half-million residents of public housing? How can they participate in living a more sustainable lifestyle?
NYCHA has played a vital role in maintaining New York’s rich and diverse identity by providing access to affordable housing to all New Yorkers. And as part of the Bloomberg Administration’s plaNYC strategy to create a greener, greater city, NYCHA began cultivating resident-driven green committees at each development as active partners in reducing their environmental impact. The committees were hungry for resources and NYCHA responded with a 50-page, single-spaced document detailing activities residents could engage in to live a low-carbon lifestyle — not exactly an inspiring read.
desigNYC connected NYCHA with The Rooster Design Group, who morphed the document into a concise, upbeat guide called “The Power Is In Your Hands,” which uses engaging, colorful iconography, and clear, direct language (in English and Spanish) to help residents understand and relate to the ways they can reduce their environmental impact and energy consumption.
“The design is critical to success,” NYCHA Environmental Coordinator Margarita Lopez says of the guide. “If you don’t pick it up to begin with, then you never open it, and if you never open it, then the message I have for you is never heard.” It is a powerful testament that small design interventions can make a big difference to create positive change in hundreds of thousands of lives.