Neighborhoods Now

In collaboration with Van Alen Institute, we are connecting neighborhoods hard-hit by the pandemic with firms in our network.

Overview

A collaboration between the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute, Neighborhoods Now connects New York City neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with firms in our collective network.

By building interdisciplinary partnerships, Neighborhoods Now has supported local organizations leading their communities’ recovery. Nearly two years later, what began as a responsive six-week sprint developed into a platform for enduring partnerships and collective activism.

Through Neighborhoods Now: Forward, we’re continuing this work in 2022, transitioning from rapid, tactical responses to long-term recovery strategies on a wider scale. Led by community organizations, seven interdisciplinary teams will enliven and program public space, provide technical support to small businesses, and strengthen cultural activities.

Neighborhoods Now: Forward is made possible through a grant from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund. With yearlong funding in place, each team is developing projects to build long-term resiliency in neighborhood economies. To strengthen learning across communities, teams will convene throughout the year to exchange their experiences and build connections.

Current Partners

Past Partners

Resources

We compiled our work into a set of design recommendations and prototypes to address immediate and long-term needs during the pandemic. This included COVID-19 awareness campaigns, open air dining, and outdoor education and cultural programming.

Participants

We invite interdisciplinary experts to join the Neighborhoods Now initiative in support of our working groups. Our experts range from firms and individuals working in public health and law to environmental graphics and small business lending.

2020-21 Report

The results of our work in 2020-21 were a set of design recommendations and prototypes addressing immediate needs for COVID-19 awareness campaigns, open air dining, and outdoor education and cultural programming. Several prototypes have now been implemented, and Van Alen Institute and the Urban Design Forum are supporting additional implementation through 2022. Neighborhoods’ needs also went beyond design and physical interventions. Working groups organized financial workshops for small businesses, drafted legal templates, and collaborated with senior staff at City agencies to help neighborhoods navigate programs like Open Streets and Open Restaurants.

Press

Next City

A Night Market Has Popped Up in NYC’s Chinatown

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Fast Company

COVID-19 decimated NYC businesses. This free program is helping them recover

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Bedford + Bowery

The Matchmaking Service That Pairs Visionary Designers With Covid Conundrums

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Curbed

The Secret to Year-Round Streeteries? What Greenhouses Can Teach Us

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Icon Magazine

Designers can – and should – have local impact

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The Architect’s Newspaper

Van Alen Institute and Urban Design Forum launch online design toolkit for COVID-19 recovery efforts

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Archinect

Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute will continue their Neighborhoods Now pandemic recovery initiative for 2022

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Funding provided by:

This project is made possible by:

Lead

Benefactor

Advocate

Patron

Supporter

Program Contacts

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Katherine Sacco
Director of Partnerships
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Lola Vieira-Sullivan
Program Manager

Past Programs

07.22.21
Join us for the Neighborhoods Now Summer Summit to celebrate the work of this year long initiative and discuss how collaborative design can improve New York City’s public realm post-pandemic.
10.07.20
Join us for the two-part Neighborhoods Now Summit: Strategies for Reopening and Recovery, a culminating event reflecting on how collaborative design can inform neighborhood recovery strategies.
10.06.20
Join us for the two-part Neighborhoods Now Summit: Strategies for Reopening and Recovery, a culminating event reflecting on how collaborative design can inform neighborhood recovery strategies.
06.26.20
On June 26, join us for a roundtable session bringing together the Neighborhoods Now working groups and diverse built environment and community heath experts.