Team with Spitzer Students Wins Design Your City Program

As part of a team of five CUNY students, Evana Said and Taylor Mastrota, both fifth-year B Arch students, won the award for best project proposal as part of the first-ever CUNY Design Your City program. Along with team members, Fati Fousseni (Baruch), Gema Romero (CCNY), and Maliha Khan (CCNY), their project focused on furthering NYC’s Zero Waste goals by designing an education and drop-off center in Rufus King Park in Jamaica, Queens. This project was intended as a pilot program that can be replicated elsewhere.

CUNY Design Your City is a new, eight-week program for undergraduates to learn community-centered planning and develop a proposal to solve a community problem with guidance from government and nonprofit leaders. It was hosted by the City University of New York, Association for a Better New York, and Coro New York Leadership

The design process began by finding dead zones in NYC where communities lacked adequate drop-off sites for food scraps, electronics, and textiles. After determining that Rufus King Park would be a good location for the proposal, the group researched precedents, gathered data, and focused on community outreach to gather insight. As part of the outreach, the group created surveys in multiple languages, spoke with individuals, and joined community groups to hear from as many people as possible.

The end result is a proposal for a Zero Waste Center in Rufus King Park, where the community can learn about zero waste efforts, ways to participate, and also drop-off waste. The design focused on making it engaging and educational for people of different ages, abilities, and knowledge of zero waste. The proposal included sculptures made from recycled material to engage with people throughout the park and make the Zero Waste Center a dynamic place to visit.