Hester Street Collaborate empowers socially and economically underserved communities throughout New York City to create better neighborhood parks, schools, and public spaces.
What We Do
Founded in 2002, Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) utilizes a hands-on approach to community design that improves the quality of life for residents in socially and economically underserved communities throughout New York City by providing them with the tools and resources to have a direct impact on shaping their built environment. HSC uses the architecture, design, planning and community visioning expertise of our staff and partners to place community members of all ages at the center of the design process. HSC seeks to create more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant neighborhoods where community voices lead the way in improving their environment and neglected public spaces. The results can be seen in public schools, gardens and parks throughout Lower Manhattan and in the strong relationships we have with public school partners, community organizations, and public officials.
HSC believes that youth and engaged residents are among a community's greatest assets and works alongside them to transform their neglected neighborhood spaces through a bottom-up, participatory design process that is inclusive and creatively engaging. By partnering design expertise with community input, HSC's model fosters connections between a diverse set of participants, leveraging the creative talent already present in the community and building a culture where all voices are welcome to participate. By drawing upon the rich and unique cultural history of the communities in which we work, we give residents the opportunity to make their public spaces truly feel like their own. Participatory design can be a powerful tool for civic engagement, and by giving residents the opportunity to make tangible changes to their neighborhoods, they are able to see the impact their voice can have on their communities.