May 9, 2024

2024 DESI interns complete their community projects

2024 DESI interns complete their community projects

Congratulations to our first Designing Environmental and Social Impact (DESI) interns and mentors for completing their projects! On May 4, 2024, an audience of Hideo Sasaki Foundation staff; DESI interns, teaching assistants, and mentors; and families and friends gathered for the final presentations, celebrating the culmination of all of their effort and work.

The Sasaki Foundation created DESI to activate Boston and Greater Boston students in their communities, using design to create innovative solutions that help address social and environmental issues in their own neighborhoods. Each intern researched their neighborhood, visited relevant sites, learned how to apply design concepts, and worked with a teaching assistant and a design professional who mentored them throughout their independent project.

Designing for Environmental and Social Impact (DESI) interns attended a Boston Public Schools Long Term Facilities Workshop to explore community engagement.

DESI interns, mentors, and staff after final presentations

At the final presentation, the audience was inspired to see how thoughtful each design was and how well each student was able to represent their ideas. 

This year the Sasaki Foundation hosted 13 interns:

Alexis from Dorchester aimed to raise awareness about the history and effect of segregation by designing a pavilion in Harambee Park that would showcase this history in an engaging way while also serving as a gathering space for the community.

Siena from East Boston imagined an outdoor co-working space to provide healthy environments for people to work outside their home, office, or school building.

Tad from East Somerville designed a native food forest at the new Green Line Extension in Somerville to make the area more appealing and to make fresh fruit accessible for the community.

Kevin from Revere designed a recreational center for his community to create jobs and provide a space where people could enjoy their time playing sports and other healthy activities.

Ashly from Hyde Park explored how to create climate resilient bus stops; because the 32 is the only bus route that runs through Hyde Park, residents rely on it heavily and wait longer at bus stops in hot and cold weather.

Sophia from West Roxbury designed a creative space that would address the issue of food waste by encouraging people to eat perfectly good leftover food from a pantry.

Merina from Belmont designed a green oasis around Clay Pit Pond to improve mental health and belonging for students at the adjacent Belmont High School.

Divine from the South End envisioned a more humanized experience at Boston Logan Airport by designing a space where community members and travelers could relax, making the airport more enjoyable and less transactional.

Samuel from Roslindale redesigned Billings Field to include more amenities and native plant species to address flooding.

Yohan from the North End introduced the Boston Ringway project to create an alternative means of transportation in downtown Boston that would connect key areas.

Moon from Malden designed a structure that would reactivate Coytemore Lea Park through vertical gardening.

Anna from Malden redesigned an underutilized parking lot by creating a garden and community space.

Dontaezjah from Dorchester designed a youth center in Hunt Almont Park to provide young people with a safe, welcoming, and engaging place to hang out without pressure to do activities or make a purchase.

Get a closer look at the 2024 DESI experience on Instagram with our DESI 2024 highlights, and watch the final presentations on YouTube.


A special thank you to all of the mentors, who showed outstanding dedication as they supported our interns through their projects: Isaac Andrade, Sasaki; Jared Barnett, Sasaki; Sara Brunelle, Lu – La Studio; Gandong Cai, Sasaki; Gabe Colombo, Sasaki; Neil Daniel, YouthBuild Boston; Diana Gallo, Landworks Studio; Felicia Jiang, Sasaki; Mytreyi Metta, Sasaki; Emily Noel, Sasaki; Ivelisse Otero, Sasaki; Eva Peet, Institute for Human Centered Design; and Carlos Torres, Sasaki.

The Sasaki Foundation would also like to thank the DESI staff and teaching assistants: Folajimi Bademosi, Sasaki Foundation Program Associate; Emily Menard, Senior Teaching Assistant and graduate student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design; Ezekiel Lucas, Teaching Assistant and architecture student at Boston Architectural College; and Jharitza Cruz Lami, Teaching Assistant and architecture student at Boston Architectural College.

Finally, thank you to all of the DESI funders, partners, and supporters who have made this new program possible.

Funders: Commonwealth Corporation via Metro North Workforce Board and City of Boston Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity

Partners: Sasaki

Supporters: CHIC Community Engagement Consulting, City of Everett, MA, Dahlia Nduom of Howard University, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, and YouthBuild Boston


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