Architecture & Interior Design: Instructor: Alison Mears. Students: Zachary Taylor, Fayad Shahim, Thomas Kerrigan, Yarrow Whitman, Vicki Wong, Tam Nguyen, Sungmin Park, Gene Park, Michael Wood, Brianna Bullentini. Communication Design: Instructor: Julia Gorton. Students: Rachel Berstein, Julie Chea, Evon Coleman, James Czyz, Gabirelle Guglielmelli, Julio Hernandez, Samantha Hutchinson, Wesley Johnson, Yongmin Lee, Alexa Ouaknine, Konstantinos Riginos, Nancy Rivera, Jennifer Shin, Anjana Singhwi, Noelle Smith, Caleb Weiss, Boyun Yang. Milano Community Development Finance Laboratory: Instructor: Kevin McQueen. Students: Ian Hardouin, Shellon Fraser, Dina Moussa, Jessica Vom Steeg. The Skid Row Housing Trust: Theresa Hwang, Mike Alvidrez

Homelessness is not the result of a single action; it is a complicated and layered solution. Fundamentally this is an issue that concerns and impacts all of us and is part of general discussion about providing well designed urban housing. The Studio was a collaboration between Milano Graduate students from the Finance Lab, Bachelor of Fine Arts students from the Architectural Design, Interior Design, and Communication Design programs, and the Skid Row Housing Trust. The studio posed the following questions: What can be done to both prevent and solve homelessness? How can we empower all members of the community through innovations in funding, design and programs? Rather than permanently supportive housing, can we create permanently empowering housing? We proposed a number of new building designs on sites by the Trust and adaptive reuse proposals for existing buildings. Additionally, Parsons Communication Design students explored issues of personal identity and located place/s on which to render a “face” for the homeless. The homeless are stigmatized and ignored. We would like to recognize through art and design that all people have a story worth hearing, and a presence to be acknowledged.

Communities around the world are no longer waiting for governments or businesses to take action but are doing it for themselves and in partnerships with others. Our project focuses on how designers can facilitate the identification, dissemination and implementation of innovations in housing, healthcare, jobs, and the environment. Cities and urban spaces have been increasingly commodified, with decision-making and access to public space and public resources limited to a restricted number of socio-economic groups and a small group of powerful political entities. With a combination of both public and private interests, working with architects, urban planners, artists, and designers, policy and finance experts who all shape a new urban ecology and topography, impact land divisions and property structures, define urban precincts, and building blocks, and redesign open spaces and the infrastructure of the city, we are wielding our design tool to re-imagine the city and its use giving our partners assets that they can use to pursue financial support and explain their vision and tools to make their mission evident to others.

Relationship to framing questions
Our Projects’ engagements use their design expertise in collaboration with innovative for profit and nonprofit business and financial models, to propose local solutions to rebuild communities across the United States. We partner with policy and finance students to develop a bona fide real estate development proposal with a non-profit partner. We also partner with a broad range of artists and designers from Parsons and locally represent a new vision for a neighborhood. We seek to extend the tools that we have developed, to facilitate engagement and provide replicable models that are of use to many communities. The Partnership also provides a comparative framework that is designed to enable effective new and innovative urban curricular concepts in the academy, and appropriate research methods, knowledge and action, in academic, policy and community contexts. ”