FINAL PROJECT: City as Lab NYC-BEI
a temporary design and research intervention in the public spaces of two cities
(Images: Left - an intervention by Dima Boulad and Nadine Feghaly; Right - NYC Parking Day celebrated on Flatbush Avenue)
“Whereas long-lasting interventions necessarily have a certain degree of affirmation, temporary projects have more latitude: the motive force is more likely to be activism than politics.”
“Temporary uses are symptoms of an alternative understanding to urban planning: rather than leaving development to government and the economy alone, they explore an appropriation of the city.”
-Florian Hayden and Robert Temel eds. 2006. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Basel: Birkhauser.
A city is a machine of moving parts, choreographed feedback loops, and self-perpetuating systems. As we learned from Christopher Robbins, Adams and Itso, and others, among these loops there are gaps and those gaps are open for business. Jennifer Hudon showed us that another DIY view is possible. Shin-pei and Frank are expanding the role of planner to assistant activist. Derek Denkcla is not waiting for politicians to make change; he is slowing down investment cycles and bringing the country back into the city, one community cooking event at a time. Stephanie Pereira supplied food pantries with farm-fresh produce. And the list of urban interventions goes on.
Beirut and NYC offer fractured landscapes for experimentation. In both their rigidity and dysfunction, these two cities possess openings for reappropriation, reformation and re-presentation by the individual citizen designer-researcher.
Your mission is to identify an opening, formulate an alternative. Your intervention should be related to one or more of the following topics: conflict space, green space, food, energy, gentrification.
You will work in small groups to develop an intervention that offers a refreshing lifeline for investigating one of these topics and activating a site in NYC and BEI that offers to the public - an interactive, experience of a site and an entry point into your research topic. To select your Beirut site and test your project, you will be able to draw upon the resources of your AUB research partners.
You are also open to collaborate with an existing organization, artist or project (e.g. Jen Hudon’s grassroots mapping, Liz Kueneke and Adriana Young’s Urban Fabric project, Chloe Bass hydroponic and roof gardens, David Mahfouda of Weeels, Christopher Robbin’s Ghana Think Tank, etc.)
The intervention can take any of the following physical or virtual forms: street furniture, mobile app, food, video projection, pop-up store, temporary museum, library, park, shelter, help service, workshop/class, game, or competition.
The opportunity to present an alternative reading and activation of a site in two global cities that involves public participation and with it, the potential to temporarily shift perception, expand understanding, and twist reality.
5-7 page essay -
A reflection on your site selection, project development and iterative prototyping process. Your essay should include references to at least 3 of the class readings and 2 presentations.
2-3 page design brief - This includes a project description, project impact, and a list of materials/processes used and to what end. It also includes short descriptions of site conditions, demographics and the physical/political/cultural/economic/environmental conditions you are responding to.
A site map, and photos and/or video of your work process and final intervention
On Exhibit -
On May 12th, you will deliver a final presentation of your project (at a local public venue TBA). For this event, you should include a visual display such as printed material to distribute or hang up, a video to screen or any other interactive demonstration of your project. This work will potentially be exhibited at the Aronson Gallery at Parsons in September and at Tawlet in Beirut in June.
Work Session 1: 4/7
Bring a draft of your concept for a design intervention and have your NYC site selected.
Work Session 2: 4/21
First prototype of design intervention and have your BEI site selected.
Desk Crits 1: 4/28
Desk Crits 2: 5/5
Final Presentations: 5/12