2022 Sasaki Foundation Design Grants


Pitch Night 2022

Lamplighter CX, Cambridge, MA

Sasaki Foundation

We leverage design to tackle global challenges—especially those that adversely affect historically underrepresented communities.

Grants Process

In 2022, we launched a call for proposals for our fourth annual Design Grants competition. We received a near record 20 applications representing 52 organizations and institutions, 9 Boston communities, 3 Greater Boston cities, and 5 Gateway Cities.

Explore the 2022 winners and finalists below. Learn more about our 2022 call for proposals here.

Thank you to our 2022 jurors for all of your time and effort supporting the Design Grants program this year: Julian Agyeman of Tufts University, Alice Brown of Boston Harbor Now, Nicholas Kelly of the Boston Housing Authority, Allentza Michel of Powerful Pathways, and Cate Mingoya of Groundwork USA.

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The call for proposals

Shared Voices

Charting a Course for Community Action

The challenges in addressing environmental resilience, displacement, affordable housing, access to mobility choices, meaningful public engagement, and other social equity considerations in planning and design are so broad and complex, they require a shared approach to facilitate all the necessary conversations and deliver actionable solutions. Most of these challenges faced by Boston communities are not limited to local neighborhoods—their effects are felt and shared across the Commonwealth and beyond. Multiple futures are at stake, and we can make a difference by acting now.

The Sasaki Foundation recognizes the need for interdisciplinary approaches, diverse community voices, and regional cooperation as key drivers to find shared solutions and create shared impact.

The Grant Winners

Chinatown Energy Literacy Campaign

Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation

Jen Stevenson Zepeda, Sari Kayyali, Lydia Lowe, Franny Wu, Daphne Xu

This project proposed by Climable, the Chinatown Community Land Trust, and Chinatown Power, Inc., will create a multi-lingual clean energy literacy campaign that is tailored to Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood and that complements ongoing work on a community-owned, clean energy microgrid. The project will also support the audio collection of community input on the topics of resilience, climate change, and a just transition to clean energy. The input gleaned will be made publicly-available via an interactive webpage that allows visitors to listen to interviews while exploring a map of Chinatown.

Meet the team and view the project narrative.

Mobile energy literacy platform prototype

Image courtesy Chinatown Energy Literacy Campaign

Community visioning green space design event for empty lot on October 1, 2021

Community visioning green space design event for empty lot, October 1, 2021

Photo courtesy Boston Society of Landscape Architects

Combating Green Gentrification: Exploring Green Roofs on Affordable Housing

Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation
New Models for Housing
Creative Community Building
Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

Bianca Bowman, Caroline Ellenbird, Ana Vanegas

Comunidades Enraizadas is a community land trust created by a group of primarily Latina immigrants in Chelsea, MA, supported by GreenRoots, a community-based organization dedicated to engaging and empowering residents to fight for environmental justice and public health. GreenRoots and Comunidades Enraizadas are committed to building community land sovereignty in the face of gentrification. As Comunidades Enraizadas works to acquire and build new properties that will remain affordable housing, they are exploring opportunities to build green roofs on affordable housing units to reduce urban heat island effects and improve access to green space in their low-income, Latinx environmental justice community.

View the project narrative.

Groundwork Somerville’s New Urban Farm

Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation
Creative Community Building
Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

Juliana Soltys, Emily Reckard-Mota

Groundwork Somerville is proud to submit this proposal for a Design Grant from the Sasaki Foundation for the next critical phase of their strategic plan: a new farm, office, greenhouse, and marketspace for Groundwork Somerville. There are two viable options for their new space: one is above a city stormwater reservation tank and the other a vacant lot with an abandoned supermarket space. This project will be designed to provide a gathering space for the community to engage with the local food system, produce culturally relevant crops, and empower youth to become agents of social change.

Meet the team and view the project narrative.

Groundwork Somerville farm

Photo courtesy Groundwork Somerville

Four photos showing 1, parked storage cart and bike on the street; 2, a Brazilian man named JR in a wide-brimmed hat sitting on the street, showing off freshly painted nails; 3, a memorial made of flower bouquets in water gallons, set on the street; 4, a brown bean bag and tan sofa in a building nook on the street. In the center, a question: How might storytelling and art help bend the world to meet the communities of Mass and Cass where they are?

Mobile storage, an artist residency, a memorial, a living room: scenes from an adaptive public realm in Cambridge and Boston

Photos and image courtesy Melissa Teng

See You in the Future

Creative Community Building

Melissa Teng, Sabrina Dorsainvil, George Halfkenny, Stephen Walter

Through community storytelling, public art, and place-based interventions, See You in the Future supports the care infrastructure around the intersection of Mass. and Cass. In collaboration with community members, they will share honest stories about the myriad of journeys that bring folks to this location. In gathering different groups in creative conversation, they will both nurture and tend to the caring future that is already rooted but often unseen. In their site-specific co-creative process, they will ask how this area’s public spaces can affirm the inherent worth of unhoused and recovery communities and work to repair histories of disinvestment and policing.

The Finalists

DIY Lowell Inclusionary Urbanism

Creative Community Building

Christopher Hayes, Aurora Erickson, Amanda Flores, Alexis Ploss

​DIY Lowell supports every community member’s right to the city, and their goal is to fulfill that mission through programming and strategies that are grounded in concrete steps with measurable objectives. Community members submit tactical urbanism ideas, and they hold a vote and help volunteer project teams make those ideas happen. They also use design thinking exercises to guide young people through ideation and implementation of community projects. This proposal is to develop a special Inclusion Program to reach immigrants and non-English speakers to make the group more reflective of the community as a whole.

Youth-led Design: New Methodologies for Shaping the Built Environment

Creative Community Building

Chana Haouzi, Matthew Okazaki, Leah Okimoto

Young people are an integral part of our communities, and yet too often they are excluded from the conversations and decision-making processes that shape our built environment. Youth-led Design asks, what would our towns, neighborhoods, and cities look like if they were truly fueled by the talent, passion, and vision of the younger members of our community? Rather than youth-centered projects, or projects that merely engage the youth, they propose to develop a new model where the youth drive and take ownership of the entirety of the architectural and planning process, from concept through completion.

Sharing Community Tree Stories: The Power of Trees in Building Healthy Environments

Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation
Creative Community Building

David Meshoulam, Jerel Ferguson

This project will assist Speak for the Trees and three community partners–in East Boston, Dorchester, and Mattapan–in the development of a platform (or platforms) to share residents’ stories about trees in their lives. Ideally, this platform will incorporate various forms of media already available or currently in production at Speak for the Trees. These platforms will assist the organization in further capturing, sharing, and amplifying stories and walks being developed through a current EPA-supported project, Community Tree Stories: Exploring Healthy Environments in Three Boston EJ Neighborhoods.