Help Neighborhood Allies’ Social Impact Design Team Imagine The Brashear Association’s NEW Creative Analytic Play Space, Designed by and for the Community

Jun 12, 2023

On May 30th, our Social Impact Design Team engaged with seniors and youth from South Pittsburgh communities at The Brashear Association, Inc. to gather design ideas for the new Creative Analytic Play Space that will be built in a vacant lot across from Brashear’s building.

Each engagement session consisted of a design exercise using large posters which gave an aerial view of the site and paper cut-outs of traditional design elements that may be found in a park or outdoor space, such as seating, walking paths, flower beds, water fountains, and more. Residents were divided into groups and invited to place these, and any other creative elements they could imagine, on the site maps to create a cohesive design that they thought would best serve the community. See some of the groups’ design ideas below!

Some of the highest priorities and interests that came from the discussion with seniors included:

  • A pollinator garden, so long as it is placed away from seating areas,
  • a “little free library” that keeps first aid materials stocked,
  • safety of the site,
  • creation of a serenity garden or meditation garden,
  • a water feature,
  • and access to restrooms.

When speaking with the youth, some priorities that came up included:

  • No extremely fragrant flowers that attract insects,
  • a selfie station and art collage board for picture,
  • free public Wifi,
  • “No Gun Zone” sign,
  • use of the space for money-making opportunities via pop-up events and vendors,
  • a “little free library” that keeps snacks stocked,
  • colorful lights around the site perimeter,
  • and a destination mural.

Next, our Social Impact Design Team, along with our collaborators — Jen Gallagher, Principal Architect at SfSP; Heather Mallak, Creative Strategist, and Chase Kea, Emerging Entrepreneur — will take this feedback and create a preliminary design to bring back to the community. That’s where you come in!

The team is holding a community cookout on Friday, June 16th from 4-6 PM at 130 Bausman St. Enjoy food and outdoor activities while providing feedback on these community-led designs of this space! Join us!

Read more about the project and team here.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA