Using a Design Approach for Cultural Preservation

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Certification Maintenance

CM | 0.75

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain insight into the opportunities and challenges of rapid-response design initiatives.
  • Learn the value of a listening-first approach to better incorporate community engagement into the design process.
  • Identify opportunities to work collaboratively across disciplines and evolve short-term projects into long-term partnerships.


Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) is a New York City cultural coalition that supports over 40 member organizations. DLR Group partnered with design and engineering firms to help rethink safe reopening strategies for 12 cultural institutions within the Lower East Side — a neighborhood struggling with the ongoing impacts of gentrification and displacement. The first phase included close collaboration with organization leaders to provide a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs while contributing to the citywide strategy for pandemic response. The second phase will help advocacy efforts related to participating in NYC's Open Streets program and envisioning a new future for the FABnyc coalition. Explore the importance of working with established community leaders and building on their legacy and vision to meet community needs.

This effort is part of Neighborhoods Now, a pandemic response initiative launched by the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute. Founded in the belief that every neighborhood should have equitable access to design resources, the initiative builds interdisciplinary partnerships that support local organizations developing community-led recovery strategies.