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Neighborhoods Now:
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Installation of planters in Restoration Plaza, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; October 15, 2020. Photo: Cameron Blaylock
Installation of planters in Restoration Plaza, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; October 15, 2020. Photo: Cameron Blaylock
Installation of planters in Restoration Plaza, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn; October 15, 2020. Photo: Cameron Blaylock
Proposal for activating Restoration Plaza with seating and wayfinding. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
Design for environmental wayfinding at Restoration Plaza. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
Design for environmental wayfinding at Restoration Plaza. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
Proposal for repurposing underutilized rooftop with tables, seating, and shade cover. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
Framing device for outdoor public exhibitions. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
Design for Restoration Plaza's West Mezzanine with outdoor seating, plantings, and ground murals meant to encourage social distancing. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio
Design for Restoration Plaza's Central Amphitheater featuring stepped furniture, plantings, and ground murals meant to encourage social distancing. Courtesy: KPF, James Corner Field Operations, AE Superlab, and Farzana Gandhi Design Studio

In collaboration with the Urban Design Forum, Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. In Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, and Washington Heights, these working groups are collaborating to develop safe and effective reopening strategies.

The outcomes are a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs, while contributing to the city-wide strategy on pandemic response. In some neighborhoods, prototypes have already been implemented, and Van Alen and Urban Design Forum are actively fundraising to support additional implementation.

Learn more about Neighborhoods Now.

Working Group

Restoration identified the following priorities:

  • Social distancing protocols for vital office spaces and retailers
  • Cleaning protocols including the decontamination of HVAC systems 
  • Retail engagement strategies, including internal/external wayfinding signage
  • Outdoor spaces and programming to bring the community together

Other community members also identified these priorities:

  • Multilingual communications about COVID-19 protocols and health guidelines
  • Pop-up outdoor activities including gathering, dining, exercise, play, and memorials, and year-round programming for open spaces
  • Strategies to address pre-pandemic challenges such as access to healthy foods and technology, better infrastructure, more shade and greenspace, and improved transportation options
  • Participatory projects to build community-building and networking

The working group aims to build upon and support Restoration’s work while leveraging their reach to engage the broader community. In their proposal, Fulton Street is reimagined as a major public space with a connected corridor that links slow streets, existing plazas, and repurposed vacant lots and storefronts. The proposal also includes DIY instructions for making barriers used in outdoor restaurant seating and a graphic wayfinding system to encourage social distancing.

The Restoration working group is now sourcing materials for movable, adaptable furnishings for pop-ups in public spaces and murals to be created in collaboration with RestorationART to showcase history, memorialize loss, and celebrate strength in the neighborhood.

In-kind donations were provided by Blondie’s Treehouse and Home Depot.

The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Community Guidelines and Reopening Strategies,” is at the sole risk of the user, and Van Alen Institute shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges Van Alen Institute and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.