Many public housing residents in New York City do not have access to green space outside their doorsteps. Fenced and unusable grass spaces surround many developments limiting opportunities for social interaction and recreational activities. Opening the Edge, proposed by public artist Jane Greengold and in partnership with the city's housing authority NYCHA, aims to create a public space prototype on one such grassy area at the Lillian Wald Houses on the Lower East Side.
In the first phase of the project, we brought together a group of Wald residents as the “Community Design Team” to discuss how they would like to use their green space. They provided guidance on local issues and maintenance concerns.
The community team designed an accessible and welcoming public space for the currently inaccessible green lot located between 3rd and 4th Streets on Avenue D. This would be a paved area with benches, a stage, a multi-purpose stepped mound, new lighting, and a new tree. See the design.
The next step is to develop further and construct this design. Help us Take Down the Fences and build the Wald Houses community's vision for a vibrant public space!
"It’s essential that this new public space be constructed, to show both our Community Design Team that their significant efforts were not in vain, and NYCHA, that their partnership with the Design Trust led to a valuable design process and a great design."
JANE GREENGOLD, Opening the Edge Participatory Art Fellow
Imagine co-designing a space with a team of residents and input from over 4000 of their neighbors! I can honestly say without their continued involvement, guidance, and acceptance into their community, we would not have arrived at what we have accomplished together.
An independent jury selected a proposal by public artist Jane Greengold to partner with the Design Trust in creating a public space prototype in an underutilized grassy area of a NYCHA development.
We conducted a site selection process and engaged with residents of Wald Houses, community organizations, and NYCHA staff.
We announced a team of Fellows with expertise in community organizing, landscape architecture, active design, lighting, and art, led by Jane Greengold.
A group of Wald Houses residents formed a Community Design Team to brainstorm and develop a design for a lively public space.
The Design Trust Fellows facilitated visioning sessions with residents at the Wald Houses.
The Community Design Team reviewed the opportunities and challenges on-site.
The Community Design Team identified common goals and values.
The Community Design Team shared memories of living in the Wald Houses and talked about the neighborhood's history.
The Community Design Team explored possible uses and design ideas based on their needs as residents.
The Community Design Team developed various design concepts.
The Community Design Team decided on a design direction after rounds of visualization and assessment.
The Community Design Team gathered feedback from their neighbors.
The Design Trust Fellows and the Community Design Team are now working to increase outreach among the larger Wald Houses community. We're also raising funds to bring the community vision to life!