PROJECT: design proposal, design and urban ecologies studio II - parsons school of design

ADVISOR: miodrag mitrasinovic

TEAM: leonore snoek

YEAR: 2016

LOCATION: new york, ny

THEMES: public space exhibit, urban strategies, participatory urbanism, capacity building, mobilities, socio-spatial fragmentation

RECOGNITION: prized solutions 2017 finalist








“Pract-Up!” is a design proposal for an exhibition in public space in eastern Rockaway, Queens that highlights positive examples of civic neighborhood transformation. It was developed in collaboration with Leonore Snook as part of the spring 2016 Design and Urban Ecologies studio at Parsons. The studio dealt with issues of imm/mobility, fragmentation of urban space, the absence of basic city services and public neglect, as well as the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.


Our design proposal responds by connecting existing civic practices of neighborhood transformation. In the absence of government support, residents have creatively and successfully organized themselves to better their neighborhoods. Examples range from reclaiming underutilized public land for a community garden, to holding private developers accountable to community needs through the negotiation of a Community Benefits Agreement. Providing them with a common framework, and celebrating their work conveys a strong message of self-empowerment, add visibility to the broader community and help scale up their social impact.

Pract-Up! Brochure
Pract-Up! Brochure
Exhibition Elements
Project Site - RYTF
Participation Site
Black Surfing Association
Visitor Experience

design proposal

design and urban ecologies studio II

parsons school of design

miodrag mitrasinovic

leonore snoek


new york, ny

public space exhibit, urban strategies, participatory urbanism, capacity building, mobilities, socio-spatial fragmentation

prized solutions 2017 finalist


A yellow painted path guides visitors through the exhibition, physically connecting people, urban practices, as well as the now fragmented beach and bay. Along the path, featured projects are “exhibited” on-site at their locations, encouraging interaction between urban practitioners and visitors who learn what is being done in the neighborhood and build capacities to become active change makers themselves.


The "Pract-Up!" brochure helps visitors navigate the exhibition and provides further information on the featured projects. Their experiences, knowledges, and resources are shared by translating their practices’ embedded knowledge into accessible and actionable models.


“Pract-Up!” contributes to the transformation and production of urban space, both in physical and social terms. Physically, the exhibition is located in public space, allowing for people to perceive and interact with their everyday environment in a new way. Socially, the exhibition will function as a platform to foster dialogue and learning processes, amplifying positive change. “Pract-Up!” is designed to highlight existing civic initiatives, reinforcing the ongoing transformation of the Rockaways, and New York City as a whole.


The design process followed a human-centered design approach, meaning we used design to make sense and explore complex urban topics, to build capacities among urban citizens, and as a tool for critical urban action.


Our methodology was guided by:


1) conducting site-specific research on the topics of urban mobility, mobility protocols, regulatory frameworks, and the Rockaways as part of an interconnected and interdependent ecological system of Jamaica Bay; 

2) formulating actionable insights and corresponding themes, derived from our research; and

3) creating design scenarios that aim to transform the found insights into a preferred situation (in a participatory and collaborative manner). 

Sketching Research Insights
Conceptual Design Diagrams
Mapping Physical Mobility
Stakeholder Interviewing
Design Workshop with Local Youth