Designing Infrastructures of Inclusion in The Rockaways, Part 2

Designing Infrastructures of Inclusion in The Rockaways, Part 2

Design and Urban Ecologies Studio 2
Spring 2016

Spring 2016 DUE Studio 2 focused, for the second time, on alternative spatial formations, participatory frameworks and environmental strategies, as well as innovative models of ownership, property and social relations in The Rockaways, Queens. Students developed design scenarios at the neighborhood level in partnership with local community associations and nonprofit organizations. The studio was taught by Professor Miodrag Mitrašinović and our main partner for the semester was again the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity (RISE), previously known as the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA). As a continuation of our work from Fall 2015, RISE helped students connect to a wide network of advocates and activists, non-profit organizations, faith organizations, educational institutions, and other local actors. With all of them, students had developed design scenarios at the neighborhood level. Our main task this semester, was to design strategies for fostering deeper connections between Rockaway communities and the waterfront.

Initially, the studio focused on the spaces under the elevated tracks of the A train along the Rockaways peninsula, and we researched the communities that live and work along its track. We employed spatial extensions under the elevated tracks as a catalyst for learning about Jamaica Bay and its diverse and complex ecologies. As the studio advanced, and as the core thematics emerged, most of the students decided to expand their research, engagement and design proposals beyond the elevated and into the expansive spaces of the Jamaica Bay. A robust research and sense-making phase preceded the four design proposal featured in this book.

In collaboration with our main community partner and other associations and individual citizens, students develop critical design-based engagements and inclusive strategies for urban transformation. This studio book is the record of students’ attempts to propose design strategies that would transform one of the most neglected of New York City’s neighborhoods into a just, inclusive and economically prosperous urban space co-produced by its citizens, varied actors in the domains of civil society and the government, as well as with many members of the vibrant entrepreneurial and small-business communities in the Rockaways.

Team members
Design and Urban Ecologies students:
Paul Kardous
Michaela Kramer
Ruchika Lodha
Sruti Penumetsa
Priya Pinjani
Isabel Saffon
Leonore Snoek
Jakob Winkler
Heming Zhang
Miodrag Mitrašinović
Book design:
Isabel Saffon, Michaela Kramer and Blake Roberts