New York, Design Incubation, The New School, College Arts Association, Cooper Hewitt Museum, Birthday parties, oh my

I love New York. An amazing city, always buzzing with people, and an infinite amount of things to do. Last week, I traveled to NY to present in a symposium with Design Incubation, my first experience with the organization, which turned out to be a great event. Hosted by The New School—Parsons, the presentations were structured in Pecha Kucha format, and the topics ranged from design education, game/app design, social design, data visualization, and others. My talk touched on resident engagement in community development projects. See more on this topic here: Design as Process—an open model for community engagement.

My friend and one of the co-creators of Design Incubation, Dan Wong introduced me to the organization. Dan and I have collaborated together in the past and it was great to participate in his design event and meet some of his colleagues.

The event was well timed with other festivities happening in New York as well. My good friend and someone I collaborate with often, Cotter Christian, recently relocated from Hong Kong to New York this past August in a new appointment at The New School—Parsons. He invited me to a critique with his interior design students who were working on an interesting project to design a hospice space for dying patients. They were just beginning the process of conceptual development and I was able to participate in this discussion, reviewing mood boards for three hospice concepts.img_20170216_123012

It was also Christian’s birthday last Friday, and we celebrated with Dim Sum followed by ice cream and some good-old-fashioned nightlife and dancing.

My trip also overlapped with the CAA (College Arts Association) conference, which is held in New York every other year, usually at the Hilton hotel in midtown. The conference brings designers, artists, and academics from all over, hosting presentations/workshops, a book fair, portfolio reviews, and other career development opportunities. Although I was not registered for the conference, I was able to meet up with my former professor, Liz Throop. She and I had lunch and talked about some new opportunities at Georgia State, my alma mater. I was also able to visit with some other friends who traveled for the conference—Colleen Fitzgerald, a photographer based in Massachusetts and Rebecca Tegtmeyer, another collaborator friend that I work with frequently, based in East Lansing, MI.

Another highlight of the trip was visiting the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. They always have fantastic exhibits but I was very excited about two in particular—By the people: Designing a better America and the Process Lab: Citizen Design. Both exhibits highlighted the importance of design for good, design, democracy and citizenship, and design for social innovation, themes that are important to me personally and show up consistently in my research work.



The Highline Project: A Walking Tour of the Railway Restoration in New York

During our trip to New York this year, Ray and I visited the Highline. The Highline project is something I learned about a few years ago when I began researching projects that dealt with urbanization and restoration.

To give you a quick overview, the project is a restoration project where designers, architects, urban planners, engineers, and other contractors worked together to rethink an abandoned railway that passed through lower/west Manhattan. The railway had been unused since the 80s and it wasn’t until 1999 when “Friends of the Highline” began to discuss efforts for restoration.

History of the Highline – Excerpt from the website

“The High Line was built in the 1930s, as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement. It lifted freight traffic 30 feet in the air, removing dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. No trains have run on the High Line since 1980. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line works in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park.”

Now, the park is designed in a way that showcases the dialogue between man verse nature. The railway and tapered wood boards weave in and out of the wild landscape, in a beautiful fusion between controlled construction and uncontrolled environment.

Below are some images from our walking tour this February.