In the triangular structure of the Design/Relief teams, we recruited one embedded creative storyteller per team, equipped with a not-so-traditional combination of  skills: writing paired with a knack for photography, graphic design, illustration, info-graphics, creative placemaking knowledge and a sense of critical analysis. We wanted this third leg of the team to be at ease with both words and images, able to document the collaboration with communities and the mental journey of their civic-minded team members. We needed someone who acts as a translator, collaborator, open to helping shape the project’s voice and storytelling style, capable of keeping track of and devise how to mark the project’s milestones. These reports are essential components of the Design/Relief deliverables: they help promote the initiative’s lessons and reception in the community and outside of it, to AIGA community and to the general public.

These three reports follow more or less a case study template format which provides unity amongst them all, however, each report focuses on site specifics, the community being served and the team dynamics. The Rockaway report deeply self-reflects on the expanding role of the designer, the Red Hook report highlights provocative insights on creative placemaking by design, while the Seaport report shows a thorough knowledge of the urban conditions of this Lower Manhattan waterfront. Thank you to all our storytellers and vive le storytelling!

Download the Rockaway site report here

“Design thinking. Placemaking. Storytelling. These terms all apply to the Design/Relief initiative, but in this report, I try not to use them. Here, I have plainly retraced the steps taken by my team in Rockaway as we came to know a troubled neighborhood and worked in concert with community members toward its revitalization. I am hopeful that our experience may serve as an inspiring example.”– Carolyn Louth, Rockaway team storyteller


Download the Red Hook site report here

 “As Storyteller for Design/Relief’s Red Hook project, I had the opportunity to both document our design process and reflect on the practice of creative placemaking. It was clear from the beginning that Red Hook is not only a creative place, but a community that is committed to affecting change for itself. The Red Hook HUB grew from a community-driven design process, and it will continue to expand and evolve to better meet the needs of people in Red Hook. This report should only be seen as part one in an ongoing story about using creative strategies to improve communication and share community information.”– David Al-Ibrahim, Red Hook team storyteller

Download the Seaport site report here

“The Seaport is a gentle living fossil perpetually aware of its own demise. It invites you in, shares a story, listens to you, and says goodbye; all with the motivation of self-preservation. Collaboratively, storytelling and design have the ability to collect these hidden messages and build a place-making strategy that amplifies their meaning through urban scale implementation, and promote a deeper awareness of this singular neighborhood.” – Tyler Silvestro, Seaport team storyteller

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