Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) is a non-profit community design organization that seeks to empower New York City communities to reclaim and improve their neighborhood parks, schools, and public spaces. Since their founding in 2002, they have been empowering communities through a hands-on approach that combines design, education and advocacy. HSC believes that youth and engaged residents are among a community’s greatest assets and works alongside them to transform their neighborhoods through a bottom-up, participatory design process that is inclusive and creatively engaging.
By bringing together the architecture, design, planning and community visioning expertise of their staff and their partners with community input, HSC fosters connections between a diverse set of participants and builds a culture where all voices are welcome to participate. HSC takes advantage of the idea that participatory design can be a powerful tool for civic engagement, and by giving residents the opportunity to make tangible changes to their neighborhoods, they are able to see the impact their voice can have on their communities.
EAST RIVER WATERFRONT
Over the last several years, HSC has conducted a series of workshops, called Waterfront on Wheels, that engages local residents around envisioning the future for public park space, specifically on Pier 42 of the East River waterfront. Since the long-term master planning process will take several years, HSC, LES Waterfront Alliance, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and the NYC Dept of Parks & Recreation, are using art and design to catalyze and sustain public engagement around the renovation of Pier 42. Summer 2013 marked the start of Paths to Pier 42, a series of temporary programs to give residents access to the Pier, increase foot traffic along corridors between the waterfront and neighborhood, serve as recommendations for the full capital renovation plan, and address the vulnerability of the waterfront due to climate change and storm surges.
PATHS TO PIER 42 FALL FESTIVAL
Join HSC on Saturday, September 27th from 11am-3pm at Pier 42, East River Bikeway for a celebration of fall. There will be tours of the Pier 42 art installations and opportunities to participate in hands-on artmaking workshops with Paths to Pier 42 artists. There will also be kite flying competitions, fishing clinics with the LES Ecology Center (fish in the East River!), gardening and park clean up activities, as well as taste offerings from local food trucks. The event is free and open to everyone. More info here.