Organization: Hester Street Collaborative, New York, NY
Sponsor: Harvard Club of New York
Hester Street along with architecture firm, Studio Gang, was contracted by the Mayor’s Office to spearhead this effort.
We are beginning by conducting a series of workshops in both neighborhoods. Each event has a focus area, such as open space, safety, or economic development.
Community members and representatives from local community-based organizations in attendance work together to map assets and challenges related to the workshop’s focus area. Studio Gang and Hester Street staff facilitate small group discussions on each topic. These workshops will inform physical neighborhood intervention proposals that Hester Street and Studio Gang will present back to the community for feedback.
Over the summer, I have worked on some of these events: preparing materials (usually large neighborhood maps on which participants can draw), helping to facilitate, and recording what is said.
The workshops are key opportunities for us to collect useful data that will inform our intervention proposals, so we take care to accurately record what participants discuss and recommend. After each workshop, we write up “report backs”: descriptive and graphic summaries of the workshop and major takeaways, and we distribute these back to the community. This is a key element of the process because it gives community members the opportunity to track major themes for themselves and correct us if we have misinterpreted anything.”