Community Play

a Pocket Park for Intergenerational Engagement

The Global Design Initiative for Refugee Children designs and builds spaces of play for children uprooted from their homes by violence to enliven the living conditions of refugee camps for all of their inhabitants. In the second year of the initiative, the group recognized there were children dealing with similar traumas and conditions in their own city, and thus partnered with the Lena Park Community Development Corporation to create a new park for play that might similarly enliven the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. I served as a volunteer designer, participating in community design charettes and meetings and collaborating with a team of architects, planners, landscape architects, and play equipment designers. We worked closely with the community to create a successful design proposal for city grant funding.
Early schematic sketches shared with the volunteer design team

Final site plan for the funding proposal

Design of the space began in a charrette with members of the Boston design community and youth from the Lena Park Community Center. Together we explored the types of activities that were in demand and would enliven the space. From there, our team of volunteer designers investigated precedents and presented schematic plans for the site. Together we chose a direction and then iterated on that scheme, ultimately arriving at the plan above.

Final perspective montage for the funding proposal

This early rendering was shared at the first community-wide meeting after the design charrette to give neighbors a sense of and get them excited about the potential for the park. It includes day and night views, and the community was particularly interested in the bold lighting scheme, which persisted into the final proposal.

The design process included several community meetings where we talked with residents about their hopes for the park. This included the initial charrette with youth from Lena Park and a barbecue where we talked to older folks from the neighborhood and had them share their reactions to potential plans, programs, and site furnishings.
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