In this critical moment, how our cities respond to the movement for racial justice and how our nation recovers from the COVID-19 crisis will determine whether we increase inequity and further injustice or take this opportunity to rebuild a nation where we all can thrive.

As we radically re-imagine the systems that shape our lives, we must take traditional, top-down planning and flip it on its head. We must invest the time, resources and the perseverance we know it takes to develop truly inclusive, equitable and accountable plans and policies. And the people most impacted by systemic racism – Black, Brown, immigrant and Native communities – must lead the way.

Here at Hester Street, we have drawn from our many years of work with communities on innovative planning efforts to develop, research, analyze and share tools and resources in response to these challenging and transformative times. Take a look:


Excluded in the Epicenter

Working with our friends at Make the Road New York, we produced a report that demonstrates, with stark data and powerful testimonials, the extent of this crisis on immigrants and New Yorkers of color across the region. The findings received media coverage in outlets like Gothamist, PIX11, El Diario and more — view the press clips here.


Policymaking By and For the People

Hester Street has developed a 7-Step How To Guide for community-driven policymaking. Intended for elected officials and activists alike, the guide lays out a framework that is an alternative to traditional top down planning – clear directions about who, how and what you need for  policymaking by and for the people.


Community Engagement in Times of COVID-19 

Hester Street created this Community Engagement in Times of COVID-19 resource in hopes of inspiring and encouraging planners, organizers, activists and public officials alike to test new tactics that center inclusive community engagement when in-person gatherings and outreach are no longer possible.


Nonprofit Capital Projects Webinar

In collaboration with Nonprofit NY, we hosted an informational webinar to provide support to nonprofits and CBOs planning for capital projects during COVID-19. Make the Road NY also shared their experiences with their new Community Center project. View the webinar here.

150 Days Later

A follow up to our “Excluded in the Epicenter” report, this updated research highlight the persistent economic devastation facing working-class immigrant, Black, and Brown communities due to COVID-19. Five months after the pandemic began in NYC, we surveyed 200+ community members on the crisis’ ongoing impacts. Read the full report here.


COVID-19 Resource Guides

We are designing series of easy-to-use and graphic how-to guides that break down the complex requirements and processes for a variety of survival resources. Working with NY Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, our multilingual guides focus on navigating the complexities of applying for public assistance.


Nonprofit Capital Projects Resource Guide

Capital projects are tough no matter what, so we produced a useful guide for nonprofits with information, tips and resources on managing the planning, design and construction of city capital projects during this time.


Census 2020

Working with a coalition of NYC Complete Count partners this year, we developed community profiles, digital mapping tools, capacity building materials, campaign toolkits, and much more to support civic and community organizations in gathering and disseminating essential information for Census outreach during the COVID-19 crisis.