Projects

CoDesign seeks to create a variety of opportunities for students to get involved in community design throughout Greater Boston. Current and ongoing projects include:

 

The Place Leadership Network

Over the 2019-2020 academic year, CoDesign has been supporting equitable public realm strategies by 8 Boston-area place-based organizations affiliated with the Boston Foundation’s Place Leadership Network (PLN), which include main streets, parks conservancies, business improvement districts, and CDCs. Through joint data gathering and analysis, deliberative dialogue with partner organizations, and reflective praxis of action research, CoDesign students investigated challenges and strategies available to community based organizations to promote inclusive, democratic, and vibrant public spaces within an urban and regional context of racialized, classed, and gendered im/mobility and access.Over the 2019-2020 academic year, CoDesign has been supporting equitable public realm strategies by 8 Boston-area place-based organizations affiliated with the Boston Foundation’s Place Leadership Network (PLN), which include main streets, parks conservancies, business improvement districts, and CDCs. Through joint data gathering and analysis, deliberative dialogue with partner organizations, and reflective praxis of action research, CoDesign students investigated challenges and strategies available to community based organizations to promote inclusive, democratic, and vibrant public spaces within an urban and regional context of racialized, classed, and gendered im/mobility and access.

 

Developing the Equitable Impacts Framework with the High Line Network

The High Line Network Equitable Impacts Framework (EIF) Pilot is a joint initiative of GSD CoDesign, the High Line Network, and the Urban Institute. The EIF Pilot consists of nine infrastructure reuse projects across North America, all of whom share commitments to managing and stewarding public spaces towards a more just and comprehensive vision of equity within their communities and cities.

CoDesign brings a critical lens to this implementation-focused Pilot, emphasizing the need to grapple with the embedded racial inequities and histories of the HLN project sites – and ultimately working with Pilot organizations to think through antiracist urban design frameworks and strategies.

 

Technical Assistance to the Boston Community Preservation Act 

Since 2018,  CoDesign has partnered with the Community Preservation Act  (CPA) department within the City of Boston and assisted in conducting information sessions about CPA, meeting with possible and current applicants about project ideas, and building out the infrastructure for a Community Ambassador’s pilot program. The intention of the pilot program is to provide technical assistance and capacity building to organizations seeking to apply for CPA fundings while also bringing together community members and city officials to advocate for and promote the possibilities of the CPA funding. 

 

Community Development Project

The Community Development Project is a cross-school volunteer collaboration between students from the Kennedy School and the Graduate School of Design who work and consult with local municipal agencies and non-profit organizations to find equitable and just solutions to urban challenges. Throughout the course of the year, CDP students work collaboratively on projects that provide concrete support to communities within the New England area and other distressed regions. Teams are made up of 10-15 students, who bring their diverse knowledge, talent, and enthusiasm together to work on a project over the course of the academic year. 

 

Implementation of Studio Projects in Lowell, MA 

Malika Leiper: People, Pedal, Power |  In response to the city of Lowell’s plan to increase bicycle ridership over the next five years, this project explored the cultural and social complexities of mobility and transportation for the city’s Cambodian American community, which makes up roughly thirty per cent of the total population. Through the participatory design of a bike rack for the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Lowell, along with educational activities and cultural programming, Malika advanced the longterm objective of facilitating the necessary dialogue between the city and its residents, which I hope will inform more just and sustainable pathways for the future of transportation in Lowell.

Download a summary report of the project here

Margaret Haltom: Planning Workshop to Reimagine Stoklosa Middle School Open Space |  With a team of eight middle school students at Stoklosa Middle, Margaret facilitated the reimagining elements of the Stoklosa school property to better meet student needs. Stoklosa is located on a former brownfield site and one of the most racially diverse schools in the state but receives proportionately less funding per student than any other school in Lowell. Through a series of mental mapping exercises, group goal setting, and a photovoice project, the middle school students built out a vision for a new playspace on school grounds including an outdoor volleyball court, a box with balls and jump rumps, and increased seating. Subsequently, students received a $500 grant to implement their ideas from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

Download a summary report of the project here