A Transdisciplinary Design studio, led by DESIS Lab Professors Eduardo Staszowski and Lara Penin, has been prototyping a “fictitious governance agency” called the NYC Office of Public Imagination. This studio course grew out of a research initiative within the DESIS Lab that documented “Government Innovation Labs,” defined as places that have some form of relationship to the public sector, aimed at tackling complex issues that typical government and bureaucratic structures have failed to resolve.

Using these case studies, Transdisciplinary Students spent the Fall 2013 semester designing a speculative public innovation place for NYC, calling it the NYC Office of Public Imagination. “This is a not a real government agency,” some students stress, but a hypothetical one used as a scenario-building tool. Evolving out of the coursework were  four proposals that envisioned how such a fictional office could operate: Imagine Your Park, Public Goods NYC, Let’s Table and Talk on the Block

By employing  design as a way to interact with residents in new and creative ways, students used this studio to re-imagine how a government office could operate. In this respect, they are redesigning government to become more open, innovative and resilient. These studios were done as part of the NYC Public & Collaborative branch of DESIS, see more at nyc.pubcollab.org.