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Hester Street Collaborative offers compelling example of pro bono community design work

Posted in Models, Sustainable Cities by Rob Eales on February 14th, 2011

Via ChangeObserver

Image by Hester Street Collaborative

Ernest Beck writing for a “series of models of how architecture and design firms do pro bono” describes how one firm approaches the complex issues surrounding “designing for the public good”.

The article describes in detail how the firm approached its engagement with the community in order to “sustain the commitment” for infrastructure required for serious work.

From Hester Street Collaborative By Ernest Beck

For Marc Turkel, Morgan Hare and Shawn Watts, partners in Leroy Street Studio, a small architecture firm in New York’s Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood, the solution has been a two-pronged approach: to integrate community design elements into a practice that services a broad cross-section of clients, and separately, to nurture an autonomous nonprofit unit, the Hester Street Collaborative (HSC), that spearheads community design programs. Taken together, they form an unusual model in the field of design and social change.


The architects put together a design education program that included building a sculpture garden with the students. “The idea wasn’t to create the next generation of architects and designers, but to allow students to improve their environment,” Frederick explains.

It’s a great article about the how the development of different approaches to complex problems can be successful as well as a great example of how a business can engage with a local community that it is part of.

Read the article

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