15 New Design Projects Helping Improve Life In NYC

15 New Design Projects Helping Improve Life In NYC

Get a preview look at collaborative work ranging from identity to green infrastructure created by pro bono designers for nonprofit organizations.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 9 october 2012

Recharging Communities is the current exhibition by New York City based nonprofit, desigNYC. Now three years old, desigNYC has served as a matchmaker for NYC nonprofit organizations with community-focused design needs and creative firms looking to donate their services.   The work is presented in two categories, Communications Design and Built Environment Design. The collaboration solutions draw from a wide range of design disciplines including UX, print, environmental graphics, interior design, architecture, and urban planning. The overall goal with each is to improve the lives of residents and visitors to New York City through community responsive design.

2012 Communications Design Projects


Project: Bard Prison Initiative
Designer: PS New York

A communications campaign to help former inmates reenter society. Bard College awards college degrees to inmates at various prisons in New York State.


Project: Clemente Soto Velez Center
Designer: Studios Kudos

CSVC embraces the city’s cultural diversity, provides studio space to artists, and hosts performances and exhibitions in a former public school owned by the City. Their home on the Lower East Side is undergoing renovation of its façade, theaters, and lobby and is in need of a unified way-finding signage, coherent with the organization’s mission.


Project: Compost for Brooklyn
Designer: Karen Greenberg

C4B empowers residents to sustainably reduce waste and cultivate healthy urban ecosystems by offering free community composting, urban gardening, and workshops in local schools. Permanent signage and brochures in several languages are needed to educate adults and kids about the benefits of composting.


Project: Lower East Side Ecology Center
Designer: Pure+Applied

LESEC provides community-based recycling and composting programs and encourages local stewardship of green space. In conjunction with opening a new e-waste warehouse the organization needs marketing materials to help promote its new e-waste initiative and new facility.


Project: NYDesigns
Designer: Remake Design

LaGuardia Community College hosts NYDesigns, an organization geared toward emerging design entrepreneurs that provides studio space, business and sustainability training, a green materials library and a cutting-edge prototype lab. The program is in need of a more dynamic branding that reflects its mission.


Project: OpenPlans Transportation
Designer: Purpose

OpenPlans Transportation is a strategic technology consultancy that uses open data and open source initiatives to improve public transportation systems and experiences. Purpose created an outreach campaign to encourage the use of bus transportation in the five boroughs.


Project: Safe Horizon
Designer: Reboot

Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program provides services to all victims of human trafficking, including both labor and sex trafficking. Reboot developed outreach materials based upon the testimonies of survivors, as well as training materials for member-led, community-based organizations.


2012 Built Environment Design Projects


Project: Fort Greene Strategic Neighborhood Action Partnership (SNAP)
Designer: Incorporated

As a family resource and computer literacy center, SNAP offers community programs that teach civic organizing, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and job skills. Incorporated redesigned the interior incorporating learning spaces, including the computer lab and multi-use classroom, to more efficiently accommodate a growing number of participants and staff.


Project: Fulton Area Business Alliance
Designers: ABArchitekten and Mapos

A new master plan for public spaces on Fulton Street in Brooklyn begins the process to develop vacant lots and create attractive public spaces for the benefit of retailers and shoppers.


Project: Gowanus Canal Conservancy
Designer: KaN Landscape Design

Developing green infrastructures around the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn to manage rain water and improve public use of the mainly industrial area surrounding the water.


Project: Lower East Side Business Improvement District
Designers: DUB-studios with SVA Impact! students

The project involves the creation of popup block parties, outdoor markets, and food festivals over three city blocks that will revitalize and energize the community. Retailing and activities are facilitated out of specially designed crates inspired by turn of the century pushcarts which used to be common on New York City streets.


Project: Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union
Designers: Bernheimer Architecture and d/b/A designbuild

An improved design of the lobby and work areas of this community bank aim to facilitate better service for its members when applying for loans and receiving financial counseling.

Project: New Destiny Housing Corporation
Designer: EOA | Elmslie Osler Architect

This organization develops and manages projects that provide housing and services to low-income families and individuals at risk of domestic violence and homelessness. For a 41-unit project located in the Highbridge/Concourse section of the Bronx, New Destiny is in need of a good design scheme for its common spaces and also a children’s room.


Project: PlayHarvest
Designer: Moorhead & Moorhead

In partnership with community groups and public schools PlayHarvest builds kinetically-powered sculptures, meant to activate urban agricultural spaces, encourage outdoor play, and spur an interest in local food cultivation and preparation. The design team was asked to develop play pieces for the Brooklyn New School’s outdoor science lab and garden space.


Project: Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation
designer: WE-design/WE-build

As a catalyst for the revitalization of the Rockaway peninsula, this organization offers services such as employment readiness training and placement, real estate development, and youth development services. They are seeking help to create a cohesive vision that will help engage stakeholders with a masterplan that can strengthen economic development, inspire communities, and activate public spaces.


Recharging Communities – desigNYC
thru October 17th
GD Cucine at 227 West 17th Street btw 7th and 8th Ave.



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