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Public Space Design as Education

Community-focused design curricula and shop class renaissance Teach public space design within schools. Students learn design thinking coupled with real fabrication and construction skills put towards a local community purpose. It's hands on,in your face, requires an active engagement. Designers as teachers, charged with growing creative capital for the next generation.

The legacy of the shop class has been for kids who are not planning on going to college. It's a vocational training class. How about orient shop class around the future of the community and its public space needs. Goal: create a 1-yr High School curricula for the Junior Class. Concept: 3 hrs/day in studio shop space or onsite. During that time kids are doing everything from ethnographic research, doing the need finding, coming back into the studio, doing the brain storming and design visualization to come up with concepts that might work and then moving into the shop and actually prototyping them, building them, testing their ideas and figuring out if they are going to work and refining that.

Over the summer they are offered a job and paid as part of the construction team to build the project in the community that was developed in shop. This program may also dovetail with Columbia University's Summer Internships which includes space planning, community & public relations, and or project management. Conservancy North will spearhead real visible projects that students can point to and build a career direction from.

Our vision is to really integrate public space design with the community including strategies to draw out the entrepreneurial strengths of local youth (social media skills, community organizing, advocacy, man-power, etc.) and motivate them through incentives including scholarships, economic support, political recognition, and award ceremonies. Our public spaces can serve to inspire the next generation of environmental and civic leaders.

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