2017-2018 Taconic Fellowships

Announcing the 2017-2018 Taconic Fellows, Bridging community development across Pratt Institute's diverse disciplines.

A Landfill for New York

Today, Edgemere landfill in the Rockaways, Queens is capped and is at the end of remediation process that converted the former municipal dump into a spectacular, and yet unused, 173-acre site offering views of Jamaica Bay and the Manhattan skyline.  Landfill for New York project aims to bring local residents together with a diverse group of experts and artists to understand and imagine the potential of this land.
Community Partner: Rockaway Waterfront Alliance
Pratt Faculty: Elliott Maltby, Sustainable Planning and Development
Simon Kates, Sustainable Planning and Development
Martha Wilson, Fine Art
Pratt Student: Sonya Gimon, Graduate Student in Sustainable Environmental Systems


Productive Collisions

PRODUCTIVE COLLISIONS is a project about imagining more equitable pathways to opportunity in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community. This project will create temporal and transformable structures in public spaces to connect the Vernon Avenue Project/Reconnect community partner with the community.  The transformable structure will include space to encourage individual interactions and commercial exchanges.
Community Partner: Vernon Avenue Project
Pratt Faculty: Latoya Kamdang, Interior Design


Garden of Gems

This project aims to build self confidence and economic empowerment in immigrant women with a history of Domestic Violence and/or Human Trafficking through art therapy jewelry making support groups. Through the groups the women can learn jewelry making skills, build a sense of community and a sense of accomplishment to develop their inner strength and voice. As an added benefit the selling of the jewelry online can provide the women with an additional income while also raising awareness of the atrocities of human trafficking and domestic violence in New York.
Community Partner: Garden of Hope
Pratt Faculty: Dina Schapiro, Professor of Creative Arts Therapy
Pratt Student: Crystal Chen, MPS Candidate of Creative Arts Therapy


Merchants Energy Opportunities Project

This research and business engagement project will provide the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project (MARP) with a roadmap for pursuing cooperative energy purchasing as a means for small business to remain competitive and thrive along Myrtle Avenue’s commercial corridor.
Community Partner: Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership
Pratt Faculty: Jen Becker, Graduate Center for Planning
Pratt Student: Michael Olson, MS Candidate in City and Regional Planning


A Strategic Plan for Vernon Avenue Project

The project aims to support the growing social entrepreneurial non-profit Reconnect Brooklyn in building their capacity to engage disconnected youth in Bedford Stuyvesant via their graphics and apparel businesses. The work will center around a strategic planning initiative and technical evaluation of their current practices and training.
Community Partner: Vernon Avenue Project
Pratt Faculty: Jack Travis, Interior Design
Pratt Students: Bryan Shim, Undergraduate Candidate in Interior Design
Shannon Killbride, MFA Candidate in Communications Design


Stories in Clay

Stories in Clay is a series of 15 claymaking workshops, led by both a ceramics major and an art education major at Pratt Institute. These workshops will also include storytelling, and these stories will be added to the oral histories that are already part of the Listening Bench, an interactive outdoor bench that plays back stories told by Gibb Mansion residents . By the end of the workshop period, approximately Spring 2018, we plan to design and publish a catalogue of the clay works and the stories. The catalogue/book will provide another piece of tangible history of a unique, yet fragile community.
Community Partner: Impacct Brooklyn
Pratt Faculty: Theodora Skipitares, Art and Design Education
Pratt Student: Michelle Wen, BFA candidate in Fine Arts
Angelica Croker, MA Candidate in Art and Design Education


Designating Community Gardens

In light of the city's exposed built-environment vulnerabilities as a result of climate change-induced extreme weather events, the goal of this project is to promote green infrastructure-based community resilience and sustainability; and to do so, in part, by promoting the utilization of New York City’s best environmental assets – community gardens – which happen to be spatially concentrated within the city’s most socially marginalized communities’.  The project seeks to demonstrate that a policy of preservation of community gardens and their concomitant ecosystem service contributions to the city is an extremely cost-effective resiliency and sustainability strategy.
Community Partner: We Stay/Nos Quedamos Committee
Pratt Faculty: Raymond Figueroa, Sustainable Environmental Systems
Pratt Student: Jose Medrano, MS Candidate in City and Regional Planning


Landmark Pioneers in Addressing Community Concerns and Secondary Displacement in the EIS Process: Two Bridges/Chinatown/Lower East Side

Thirty years ago, the Chinese Staff Workers Association successfully sued the City of New York for violating City Environmental Quality Review regulations, establishing that indirect displacement of residents and businesses was a necessary component of the review of any large-scale development. Today, the same neighborhood faces similar development and gentrification pressures that stand to displace residents, businesses, and culture, yet the city continues to calculate secondary displacement using assumptions based on New York’s housing market in 1986 and decision-makers lack complete information about the potential impact of new development. This project will provide technical assistance and support to a local tenant group that is fighting to preserve low-cost housing and diversity in one of Manhattan’s last remaining affordable neighborhoods.
Community Partner: Tenants United Fighting for Lower East Side
Pratt Faculty: Eve Baron, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment
Eva Hanhardt, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment
Mercedes Narciso, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment
Ayse Yonder, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment
Jamie Stein, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment
Pratt Students: Sheena Kang, MS Candidate in City and Regional Planning
Renae Widdison, MS Candidate in City and Regional Planning
Pravithra Sriram, MS Candidate in City and Regional Planning
Jim Shelton, MS Candidate in City and Regional Planning


Truthworker Theatre Trilogy

Truthworker Theatre Company is a social justice based, hip-hop theatre company for high school and college aged youth in Brooklyn. Using theatre & media to examine history & learn about models for creating social change, we call upon poetry, dance, rap, step, & critical thinking skills as tools to develop solution driven communities.
Community Partner: Truthworker Theatre Company
Student: Donnay Edmund MFA Performance & Performance Studies
Faculty: Tracie Morris, Performance & Performance Studies