We believe that design is a tool to be used to service a community in need; what we fondly refer to as humanitarian architecture. We believe that the intertwining of social connectedness, positive economic growth, and a supportive built environment creates the trifecta that our communities need to thrive. A measurement of this achievement can be found in the civic spaces of the built environment. It is found in the government and non-government offices; in the community centers, the schools, the public facilities, and the health centers...all are necessary to increase the vitality of the community.
The design professional should be intentional in providing those spaces and ensure they are inherently positive to the people using them. If these spaces have been damaged, they need to be recovered. If these spaces do not exist, they need to be built. If these spaces are underutilized, they need to be enhanced. Our role in the development of civic spaces is a local and global task, one that we will follow where it is needed.
Harlem Grown is a nonprofit that works with students to promote urban gardening, sustainability, and nutrition while advocating for education and job training. They are currently expanding their urban gardening outreach in West Harlem.
The Elevated Studio is assisting with and guiding the design process and implementation. We are partnering with Human Habitat, a design firm in Copenhagen that has developed the Impact Farm, which is a "shippable" greenhouse-in-a-box.
We hosted a wonderful community charrette in partnership with CUNY graduate students. The ideas generated were fabulous and have been implemented into our master design. Construction is underway.
In addition to the Impact Farm, we are incorporating an educational amphitheater, a teaching kitchen, library, solar panels, and much more.