Hester Street Collaborative- Press Profile

2010 Union Square Arts Award Recipient

113 Hester Street
New York, NY 10002

Media Contact: Anne Frederick, Exective Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | (212) 431-6780

Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) works with communities on projects that add a layer of joy to public spaces. HSC uses design as a tool for social change and believes that to foster vibrant communities where residents have a sense of positive ownership, all members must have a voice in how their built environment is shaped. HSC works with residents and youth to transform neglected public spaces in parks, schools, and affordable housing developments through a participatory design and advocacy process that integrates local knowledge and resources, gives stakeholders a hands-on role, and encourages meaningful, long-term community stewardship.

HSC was formed in 2002 when architecture firm Leroy Street Studios (LSS) moved across the street from Sun Yat Sen Middle School in Chinatown and asked the principal if it could collaborate with teachers and students to build a garden in the school’s front yard.  Today, HSC staff and LSS architects work together on a range of community design and education projects to revamp neglected playgrounds or unused neighborhood spaces, build community gardens, and decorate walkways and streetscapes.

HSC’s Ground Up is a design-build education program that brings together local artists, activists, public school students and teachers to work directly with designers on school and community improvement projects. Students’ projects have included creations like planters, public art installations, mosaic stepping stones, stackable seating, and an outdoor garden classroom.

HSC’s projects involve neighborhood residents in city planning and neighborhood improvement. Its community design initiatives have engaged Chinatown and Lower East Side residents in re-building a playground, transforming the Allen and Pike Street Pedestrian Malls into a viable public park, and creating a series of temporary public art installations. Currently, HSC is working with the O.U.R. Waterfront Coalition to ensure that New York City’s redevelopment of the East River Waterfront meets the needs of low-income families.

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