It’s challenging to build and maintain a practice in the social impact design space. Addressing pipeline, diversity, staffing, and financial issues is a heavy load, but our work won’t really be design for equity until we take on these issues and make sure our own internal practices are consistent with our values and the larger social equity goals we are fighting for.
We all say things like we want our project to “benefit the community,” we are “interested in diversity,” or we have an “engagement process.” But a little poking reveals that we often have different definitions for seemingly simple words like “community,” “diversity,” and “engagement.”
Lillian Gonzalez, a female day laborer, has been in New York for eight years since she moved here from Ecuador. She said she used to work below minimum wage and spent three years cleaning on her knees, because she didn’t have any cleaning supplies. “Now, with this, I can say it or point it out and say I have pain in my knees and back,” she said.
Since 1997, the Center for Urban Pedagogy has used graphic design to explain byzantine local policies and processes to New Yorkers.
As a starting point, many Council members, including Reynoso, Levin, and Carlos Menchaca, are using kits that explain zoning and affordable housing created by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP).
Park enthusiasts, including members of several community and advocacy groups, gathered to celebrate the publication of the guide and move the flourishing park advocacy movement forward, hoping to broaden involvement across the city.
The guide provides advice in a simple, entertaining format using language that is easy to understand. It also gives tips for staying healthy and safe in the workplace, and valuable information on city regulations established by the New York State Department of Labor.
“Este cuadernillo contiene importante información sobre nuestros derechos como jornaleros y trabajadores en la construcción. Nos va a ayudar a salir de las sombras y reclamar nuestros derechos cuando nos explotan,” dijo Jesús Morelo, miembro de NICE y colaborador en la ejecución del folleto.
Through Public Access Design, CUP has more than doubled the number of community partners it collaborates with in a year, and significantly increased its connections with designers.
We think a lot about how to create a visual environment that’s non-threatening, especially when you are dealing with an issue that’s stressful, complicated, and may affect whether or not you can afford to stay in your home. We want things to feel familiar and accessible and to avoid people feeling that they might not understand the concept.
CUP is dedicated to increasing the public’s understanding of urban policymakers’ jargon and labyrinthine public engagement procedures. They created the “What is Zoning?” toolkit and guidebook to help educators, neighborhood groups and community boards to shed light on the New York City zoning process for their constituents.
Students from Lyons Community School in Brooklyn and CUP teaching artist Leigh Davis worked together to examine the restaurant grading system in the city.