DS4SI introduction

from: http://ds4si.org/mobile-rd-labs/

DS4SI Partners: Corina McCarthy-Fadel, Diego Perez Lacera
Project:  Making Planning Processes Public in Upham’s Corner

Description of the organization
Design Studio for Social Intervention, ds4si, is an artistic research and development outfit for the improvement of civil society and everyday life. We are situated at the intersections of design thinking and practice, social justice and activism, public art and social practice and civic / popular engagement. We design and test social interventions with and on behalf of marginalized populations, controversies and ways of life. For us, social interventions are actions taken to reconfigure social habits, unspoken agreements or arrangements that, prior to the intervention, add to the durability and normalcy of a social problem. We focus on social interventions because we believe they can affect both formal hierarchical systems like school systems and complex nonlinear systems like cultures.

To briefly describe the project, we will be leading ds4si’s “Making Planning Processes Public in Upham’s Corner” project. This project is focused on researching past, present and outside planning processes relevant to the Upham’s Corner area. We will also be commissioning artists to create an interactive pop-up shop exhibit that highlights the different planning processes and planners pertinent to the area.

What are your assets — within the organization, what are your best skills, who are your partners in the community?

Some of our assets within the organization include our methodology, which allows for creative and experimental ways to tackle social problems without relying on or ignoring existing methods. Our space is a place of convergence for artists, activists, academics, and organizers to think and create collectively. One of our strongest skills is that, when tackling new problems we do so in a non-linear fashion, which pushes us to examine the multiplicity of factors that may affect a situation. Our partners include the following: The City School, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Uphams Corner Main Street, The Food Project, ArtPlace, Boston Youth Organizing Project, Gallery Basquiat, Etc. For further information please visit http://ds4si.org/storage/ds4si_whatwedo.pdf

Share some success stories: What do you do, what have you done and what are some current stories ? Past successes include:

The Public Kitchen is a creative R & D project aimed at problematizing the current degradation (and subsequent privatization) of all things public—schools, parks, water,
hospitals, etc. Going in the opposite direction, the Public Kitchen will raise awareness of how making things public can increase access to affordable healthy foods and vibrant social communities. For activists taking on food justice issues, it also provides both a demonstration of a unique intervention and valuable data about what people desire in food and sociality.

When Boston youth organizers wanted help taking on the social violence that was sweeping their communities and causing a spike in youth murders, we worked with them to design the “Let’s Flip It” campaign. Based on a deep exploration of the Five S’s, LFI took the symbol of the fitted cap (used by many youth to rep their blocks and therefore the cause of much friction between gangs and crews), and created a youth-to-youth campaign using a blank white fitted.
Combined with logo pins and flyers, LFI aimed to address the problem at the scale of the city, creating a direct way for youth to communicate with each other that it was time to “flip Boston”, to stop repping their blocks and start repping living.

What is a critical issue or problem that you have that we’ll explore in this class?

How to most effectively present the information we want to highlight in regards to planning processes in Uphams Corners, in a way that is immediately accessible, impactful, and interactive for the public, while using the most suitable technology available. Some current ideas include memory mapping and gentrification mapping and interactive public signage.

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