2013. Project Storybook for a service design research project I co-led, through a fellowship with Public Policy Lab, investigating the successes and challenges of the NYC public high school choice process undertaken by 7th and 8th graders each year. I was recruited as the design fellow on the project (along with a strategy fellow and an ethnographer) but also contributed substantially to research strategy and synthesis of findings.
Each year more than 75,000 students navigate the admissions process to apply for seats at New York City’s 700+ public high school programs. The Public Policy Lab formed a partnership with the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and the Office of Student Enrollment to explore opportunities for improving this admissions experience.
Our team spoke with dozens of policymakers, school staff, parents, and 8th and 9th graders. We identified four needs that everyone in the process shares and proposed more than 30 opportunities to design services that respond to those needs. Subsequent phases of work will focus particularly on helping students from high-need and non-English-speaking families make more informed and confident decisions.
A "kid story" from the report—a user journey through the process.
2013. An outreach and advocacy video for Damayan Migrant Workers Association, as part of their Baklas (“Break free”) campaign to raise awareness about labor trafficking, specifically among Filipina domestic workers. The video is a product of a Public Access Design fellowship sponsored by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). I collaborated with Damayan and CUP to conceive the content for this video, and then I wrote, designed and directed it with their support and critical feedback.
2008-2012. Part of the work I set out for myself on the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation’s Freshkills Park development team was to develop and design a range of outreach materials performing a variety of functions: explaining the history and infrastructure of the Freshkills Park site, the regulations and process governing it and the park development projects underway within it; and helping the public re-imagine a site that had been so identified with waste and environmental neglect as a refuge and space for recreation, regeneration and environmental stewardship.
Fresh Perspectives Newsletter. I served as primary editor and designer of every issue in addition to writing a large share of the content, producing illustrations and taking a number of the photos.
Freshkills Park Blog. I created, designed, wrote and edited the Freshkills Park Blog, updating content several times per week. Since the park is a limited-access, long-term development in a remote corner of New York City, it was important to offset by maintaining an active and frequent presence in the minds of its existing and potential advocates; the blog was part of the resulting strategy. It served as a hub for stories related to all of the intellectually interesting aspects of the park: landfills, recycling, landscape architecture, New York City development and history, art, renewable energy and more, in addition to any news and media relating to park development and programming. In conjunction with a lecture series I ran on related topics, the blog was one of the only ways for the general public to easily engage with—and virtually gain access to—the park on a regular basis. The site came to average approximately 2000 unique views per day.
Information Booklet. I wrote and designed a press kit for the Freshkills Park project at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and then adapted it into thisinformation booklet that could be distributed as a standalone, shelf-ready item to potential partners and funders.
Outreach Brochure. I wrote all content and designed these brochures.
Site Tour Guide. Our outreach team found it was handing out numerous information sheets and brochures on public site tours. I wrote and designed a Site Tour Guide that compressed the many commonly asked questions and requested pieces of information into one document. The Guide was designed to fold accordion-style to allow the most information to be communicated on a single-page document, while remaining small enough to fit in a coat pocket (5” x 6.25”).
From the Ground Up
2010. ResilientCity.org held a design ideas competition to solicit new strategies from urban practitioners in planning and designing cities to be resilient to large-scale shocks like climate change and peak oil. Urban designer Michael Haggerty and I prepared a response to the prompt of designing for food self-sufficiency in an urban neighborhood.
Through study of the struggling West Side neighborhood in Newark, NJ, we developed a strategy that created a hierarchy of food production and processing facilities capitalizing on existing neighborhood assets, vacant properties, community history and workforce mobilization. Facilities were connected by a green corridor system designed to be a safe public space permitting distribution and exchange. We proposed networks of social and physical infrastructure to allow the neighborhood to generate and manage its own energy, water and heating and waste systems. The proposal won the competition’s grand prize.
2007. My master’s thesis (PDF, 10MB) in urban planning focused on mobile user-generated and location-accessed digital annotation of physical places with text and media, and how this emerging field can be useful to urban planners and designers. The thesis establishes a taxonomy of modes of spatial annotation (both physical and virtual); catalogues annotations made in two neighborhoods each for the projects Yellow Arrow (in New York City) and [murmur] (in Toronto); and develops a preliminary methodology to analyze and compare trends in distribution, placement and content of annotations. So-called ‘placelogging’ content is found to distinguish itself from other forms of spatial annotation by its application a wide range of public and private places with predominantly subjective, first-person content.
Participant interviews and research on related technologies are used to support claims that placelogging could be used to identify sites of shared meaning in the city as well as to foster place attachment, claim to space and social connections among participants. Uses in community development are considered through three case studies of implementation. Uses for revealed meanings are proposed in preservation, identification of development priorities and sensitivity of response in urban development.
2015. An animated video and a 22"x32" poster produced for Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung to advocate for labor unions, globally, to take up the cause of public ownership of energy infrastructure. Through Meerkat Media, I co-produced, co-wrote the video's script and poster's explanatory text, illustrated and designed the poster, designed, directed and co-animated the video.
2014. Illustrated video produced for community meetings to introduce the NYC park stewardship support program, Catalyst, operated by Partnerships for Parks. I produced, co-wrote, designed and directed.
2006. 16mm and video. A man recalls the events of his life and those of his twin as he reflects on their closeness inside the womb. The film was made using a multi-plane plexiglass setup in which paper cutouts were illuminated from below to cast shadows onto a piece of vellum.
PLEASE NOTE that there are some lower frequency portions of the soundtrack that are only audible through speakers or headphones.
2003. 16mm. A film I wrote, designed, animated and edited. Follows a woman as her daily chores lead her away from home. The film was made by first drawing a set of silhouettes, then tracing backgrounds through them onto animation bond.