Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) uses design as a tool for social change. It believes that in order to foster communities where residents have a sense of positive ownership, all members must have a voice in how their environment is shaped. HSC works to transform neglected public spaces in parks, schools, and affordable housing developments through a participatory design and advocacy process that incorporates local knowledge and resources, gives stakeholders a hands-on role, and encourages meaningful, long-term stewardship.
HSC brings together local artists, activists, students, and teachers to work directly with professional architects and designers on projects such as Ground Up, a design educational program for public school students. HSC’s community design initiatives are engaging residents in re-building parks and playgrounds in Chinatown and the Lower East Side neighborhoods and working to ensure that the redevelopment of the East River Waterfront meets the needs of low-income families.