For the initiative developed by the Van Alen Institute and Urban Design Forum, KPF and collaborating firms partnered with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration to address COVID relief in the historically underserved neighborhood.
Neighborhoods Now began in June 2020 with the purpose of connecting the neighborhoods in New York that were heavily impacted by the pandemic through reimagined public spaces. KPF spearheaded the collaboration with AE Superlab, Farzana Gandhi Design Studio, James Corner Field Operations, and JB&B to create new plazas and connection corridors, and conceptualize updates to the vacant lots on Fulton Street in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy. The team’s design addressed the tenant-scale, including individual offices and businesses, up to the neighborhood level.
Tailored to the needs of the Bed-Stuy community, a series of proposals provided design solutions that would extend beyond the pandemic, crafting inclusive spaces to improve underlying issues by making the neighborhood more equitable, healthy, and vibrant. The materials distributed to the wider population included posters related to COVID-19, a digital toolkit, and pamphlets with recommendations from the state/city/CDC. The team hosted virtual workshops hosted for small businesses to better inform owners on guidelines and protocols, and implemented the “Be a Good Neighbor” program, encouraging businesses to work together.
KPF established community build days to carry out the initial phases of the proposals, partnering with ReformationArt and local artists to integrate graphic cues for social distancing and circulation, beautifying the neighborhood. The conversation between Restoration and the team continues today – posters/pamphlets are continually updated as CDC guidelines change.