Hester Street and Studio Gang collaborated with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Department of Design and Construction and the New York City Police Department to conduct Neighborhood Activation Studies (NAS) for Brownsville and Morrisania as part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP). The study sought to understand how design can be a tool to help reduce crime and build positive relationships between police and people who reside in the neighborhoods where they serve.

As the project’s community engagement specialist, HST worked in partnership with local organizations to lead a process in both neighborhoods to identify stakeholders’ priorities and recommendations for policy, process, and design interventions. HST engaged local youth, community members, and police officers in a series of focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and informal engagement events to envision ways in which to improve public safety.

Final recommendations were informed by community input, existing neighborhood plans, and future capital investments. The Neighborhood Activation Study aspires to provide MOCJ, NYPD, and DDC with a method to realize the latent potential of capital expenditures to reduce crime, build trust between police communities, and improve quality of life in neighborhoods across the city.