About Neighborhoods Now
In collaboration with the Urban Design Forum, Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. In Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, and Washington Heights, these working groups are collaborating to develop safe and effective reopening strategies.
The outcomes are a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs, while contributing to the city-wide strategy on pandemic response. In some neighborhoods, prototypes have already been implemented, and Van Alen and Urban Design Forum are actively fundraising to support additional implementation.
Learn more about Neighborhoods Now.
Goals and Outcomes
Civic Space Toolkit
This universal system is designed for community-based organizations who want to resume their operations in the outdoor space. The system made of inexpensive and reutilized materials (wood crates, palettes, and strings) provides organizations with a flexible furniture and shading solution that can be used for various programs — from book fairs to movie nights and community events. The team is implementing this toolkit in NWBCCC’s backyard to create an outdoor library and hangout space.
Small Business Support
The team organized a seminar for small businesses on how to apply for relief loans, and built out a colorful and eye-catching outdoor dining setup for local restaurant Tropical Rotisserie.
In October 2020, the team organized Kingsbridge Day!, a day of service to spruce up the streets of Kingsbridge and highlight ongoing sanitation issues exacerbated by municipal funding cuts during the pandemic. Local residents and volunteers from across the city cleaned up litter and the nearby Aqueduct Walk Park, while a tree planting demonstration encouraged residents to imagine a neighborhood with more street trees to help combat heat vulnerability.
The team engaged local artists Felix and Dexter Ciprian to help create Tropical Rotisserie’s outdoor dining structure and Bronx-based graffiti artists Tats Cru to create a mural installation celebrating the neighborhood’s identity.
In-kind donations were provided by Greengage Urbanscape, Ltd.
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