Sam Holleran, Participatory Design Fellow 

Sarah Lidgus, Design Education Fellow

José Serrano-McClain, Community Organizing Fellow


Rosamond Fletcher, Director of Programs, Design Trust for Public Space

Joseph Huennekens, Program Associate, Design Trust for Public Space

publication design

Sam Holleran, Participatory Design Fellow


Design Trust for Public Space

Building the Community Design School at Flushing Meadows Park is a must-read for anyone interested in community-driven design. The publication lends an inspiring look at how an inclusive, educational, design-oriented planning process can turn park-users into park-leaders.

Seven million people annually visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, the home of both the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs, despite the fact that the park has not been seriously updated for the past 50 years. With its confusing circulation paths and outdated fairground design, Flushing Meadows Corona Park does not meet the users’ needs.

Given Flushing‘s unique nature as one of the most ethnically diverse places on earth, the questions arise: What does the community want and how does the City find this out? The Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership with the NYC Parks Department and the Queens Museum, created the Community Design School for The World’s Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with Its Neighbors project, to work with local residents in the planning, design, and stewardship of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The Community Design School at Flushing Meadows Corona Park pioneered a new model of participatory planning in Queens, the nation’s most diverse county. Over the course of twelve weeks, Community Advisors from the surrounding neighborhoods gathered to analyze, plan, debate, and design new ideas for the park’s biggest challenges. The School demonstrated a different kind of community planning process, one that empowers community members to formulate and initiate the improvements they want to see in their park—not just react to outside plans.

Introducing the reader to The World’s Park project, the publication outlines how the School came to be, provides the political context of the park, and describes the classroom structure and lessons plans of the School.

When changes are coming to a neighborhood, the problem is finding out after the plan has already been decided, or when politicians notify the community in a way that feels like it’s just about checking a box. But there are also times when it seems that the community is not really interested in knowing. That’s when you need education.

Table of Contents

  • Preface by Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Commissioner, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Flushing Meadows Corona Park (The World's Park) in Context
  • Meet the Community Advisors
  • Class 1: Meeting Your Neighbor
  • Park Tour
  • Class 2: Seeing the Park Differently
  • Class 3: Understanding the Forces that Shape the Park
  • Class 4: Considering the Needs of Other Park Users
  • Class 5: Designing for Feedback and Collaboration
  • Community Forum 1
  • Class 6: Evolving Our Ideas and Partnering with Others
  • Class 7: Understanding the Process (But Designing for People)
  • Class 8: Communicating for Action
  • Community Forum 2
  • You are Here Exhibition
  • Moving Forward

Publication Information

Date: September 2016

Pages: 53

ISBN: 978-0-9716942-0-0

Where To Buy

Design Trust Shop

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In partnership with

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and Queens Museum

Associated Fellows