You're using an unsupported browser. This site may not look optimal.

Neighborhoods Now:
Community League
of the Heights

Outdoor dining protoype installed outside of Salento Colombian Coffee & Kitchen. Photo: Woods Bagot
The Woods Bagot team works to build an outdoor seating area for Salento. Photo: Woods Bagot
Outdoor dining adapted for winter conditions. Courtesy: Woods Bagot
Mock ups of Community Blocks, a kit- of-parts for educational programming. Photo: Design Advocates
Mock ups of Community Blocks, a kit- of-parts for educational programming. Photo: Design Advocates
Mock ups of Community Blocks, a kit- of-parts for educational programming. Photo: Design Advocates
Designed to be inexpensive and accessible, this kit of parts can be set up to facilitate outdoor programming and learning. Courtesy: Arup
Proposed pop-up for Word Up Community Bookshop displays and programming. Courtesy: Gensler

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.

Working Group

Return to School Logistics
Arup worked to evaluate potential options for managing socially- distanced student entry into the school. These studies addressed high level requirements for social distancing and use of external spaces to manage and process queues for students.

Open Restaurant Seating
Woods Bagot worked with Salento Colombian Coffee & Kitchen to implement a pilot version of the year-round seating concept design.

Open Streets
Stantec and CLOTH applied for five playstreets through the City’s Open Streets program. In addition, they developed a proposal for Plaza de las Americas for a collective restaurant seating area and series of pop-up gardens to encourage purchase of take-out from nearby restaurants and to provide green spaces at this largely paved plaza.

Informational Materials
Design Advocates created a print pamphlet for businesses as well as commercial property owners, to show the potential for pop-up activations in vacant storefronts.

Small Business Support
In collaboration with Word Up Community Bookshop, the team designed Community Blocks, a flexible outdoor kit-of-parts that can be arranged to create a variety of structures that support educational programming, serve as a civic gathering space or help local businesses move their operations into the public realm. The team also worked with Sisters Uptown to design custom outdoor retail and seating for their facade.

The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Neighborhoods Now: Washington Heights Working Group Final Report,” is at the sole risk of the user, and Van Alen Institute shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges Van Alen Institute and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.