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a process by which an otherwise unfruitful place is optimized for the betterment of its surrounding community. Latham Street Commons is one such place.

I was involved in designing a series of community engagement efforts over the last year and a half in order to transform this place from an alley of empty storage units into a thriving Urban Commons. The community surrounding Latham Street Commons is the heart and life of this project. Acknowledging this, our aim over the past twelve weeks (jun-aug/2015) was simply to listen. What are the dreams, needs, and desires of Latham Street’s neighbors and how can we bring those to life inside twenty abandoned storage lots?

Beginning with our last days at the Commons, the above two panels are the book ends to an exhibit put up at Latham Street Commons to share back to the community how their participation in various design probes, community events, and co-design activities impacted the growth of this place. This was not the first time the community heard back from our team. At every step along the journey, our research and activity results flowed back through each home in Friendship and Garfield (the two neighborhoods bordering LSC).

Below you will find different design “probes” that our team used to reach the neighborhood surrounding Latham Street Commons.

Design Approach