Re-vision-ing the Bronx Grand Concourse: A Community-Centered Approach Finalist

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Submitted by

Emily Osgood, Alejandra Diaz, Laura Keller, Megan Gibbons, and Lisa Woodley, MISI Company; Itir Sonuparlak, Columbia University
New York, NY

Summary

We propose an experience research project investigating the needs, behaviors, and desires of the communities that utilize the Bronx Grand Concourse. These findings will lead to actionable insights about the design of the Grand Concourse and its neighboring streets that can be utilized by one of the participating design firms.

Description

The question of what to do in order to improve the Bronx Grand Concourse is not just an architectural, urban planning or artistic endeavor. And that’s a good thing- because we’re not architects… urban planners… or artists… In fact, our designs aren’t limited to any one medium. We are designers…. experience designers.

We aspire to understand people’s experiences of interacting with things - from web sites to mobile phones to hospitals - and make them ideal.

When thinking about re-visioning the Bronx Grand Concourse, it’s not really about how many benches can fit on a sidewalk… it’s about whether the community residents are inclined to sit on those benches. It is about eliciting from people who use the Grand Concourse insights as to what their optimal Concourse experience would be, and designing it to support that optimal experience.

We observed people interacting with the Grand Concourse, and we asked them questions. But we only scratched the surface… in order for the re-visioning of the Grand Concourse to be a truly valuable community-oriented space, we propose a collaborative effort with a participating design firm to research the unique needs, wants, and behaviors of the people who utilize the Grand Concourse on a daily basis: the drivers, pedestrians, students, workers, neighbors and travelers, the young, the old and everyone in between, representing all of the cultural backgrounds that make up the diversity of the Bronx and the neighborhoods surrounding the Grand Concourse.

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