Designing Infrastructures of Inclusion in The Rockaways, Part 1

Designing Infrastructures of Inclusion in The Rockaways, Part 1

Design and Urban Ecologies Studio 3
Fall 2015

In Fall 2015, students in the MS Design and Urban Ecologies Studio 3 partnered with students in the MFA Transdisciplinary Design program (Transdisciplinary Design Projects Studio 1 and 3) to design strategies and scenarios for building social-spatial infrastructures of inclusion in The Rockaways. The studio was taught collaboratively by Professors Carlos Teixeira and Miodrag Mitrašinović. Our key studio partner was the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity (RISE), previously known as the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA). Additional partners were the NYC Department of Transportation and Design Trust for Public Space. Through RISE, students connected to a wide network of advocates and activists, non-profit organizations, faith institutions, food producers and other critical, local actors.

After the preliminary research phase (“sense-making”) was completed, students formed four design teams based on their preference for the themes and topics identified. Student teams produced flexible, dynamic, socio-spatial scenarios aimed at transforming policy, environmental conditions, labor relations, and economic production models in the conflicting areas of The Rockaways. Their proposals addressed critical issues including environmental protection, building community resilience, struggle against gentrification, spatial integration, ethnic and racial inclusion, economic justice, production of fresh and healthy food, cultural development and infrastructural development. Each proposal is developed in partnership with grassroots, community-based, nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and municipal organizations.

We are deeply grateful to RISE for hosting our workshops and brainstorm sessions with community members and leaders, for facilitating our work, and specifically to Jeanne DuPont, Ana Fisyak and Judah Asimov for teaching us so much about community organization, development and planning.

This is the first publication in the series of three Studio books documenting the work of the MS Design and Urban Ecologies program in The Rockaways, in partnership with RISE and led by Professors Miodrag Mitrašinović and Carlos Teixeira.