June 24, 2020

Sasaki Foundation Announces Design Grants Winners

Sasaki Foundation Announces 2020 Design Grants Winners

The Sasaki Foundation announced today the winning teams for its 2020 Sasaki Foundation Design Grants. The Design Grants are an annual competition to showcase projects that support and drive interdisciplinary innovation and empower our local communities with a goal of creating change through the power of design.

Each year, the Sasaki Foundation announces research topics that address current trends and inequities in design. In 2020, the Sasaki Foundation focused on Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation, New Models for Housing, Innovation in Transit and Access to Mobility Choices, and Creative Community Building, under the theme of Shared Futures: Charting a Course for Action. This theme recognizes that multiple futures are at stake, and we can make a difference by acting now.

“We were extremely impressed by the response we received from applicants, our partners, and communities,” says Alexandra Lee, Executive Director. “The Foundation is excited to fund innovative projects focused on bringing new, local solutions to global challenges, including gentrification, economic resilience, and gender inequality, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow our research cohort.”

Applicants proposed projects to win cash awards and office space at the Incubator at Sasaki, a flexible research studio and shared work space that serves as the catalyst for cross-industry collaboration, adjacent to Sasaki, a global design firm. In the program’s third year, the Foundation received 12 applications from multi-member teams competing for the opportunity to take advantage of this unique nine-month residency. The projects represented 45 organizations and institutions, 8 Boston communities, 21 Greater Boston cities, and 5 Gateway Cities.

The Sasaki Foundation Design Grants jury selected six teams to advance to Pitch Night, a virtual event sponsored by Columbia. where they each had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of 140 designers, planners, artists, community leaders, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs. “Pitch Night for the Sasaki Foundation Design Grants never disappoints!” says Shaun Lover, President of Columbia. “The passion and innovative approaches and concepts shared to improve our communities make it one of my favorite nights of the year.”

“We had an incredible team of judges, representing the Barr Foundation, Conveyal, MONUM, and Sasaki, who evaluated the teams on how equitable, innovative, and impactful their ideas were,” says Laura Marett, Design Grants Jury Chair and Secretary of the Sasaki Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “We are excited to welcome these new teams as part of our growing research cohort, tackling projects that will empower communities within Massachusetts. And with the geographic proximity of this year’s three projects in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan, we’re expecting the opportunities for collaboration to create an even deeper impact. ”

The names of the 2020 Design Grants winners are:

Columbia Road Gender and Mobility Initiative
Community: Dorchester, Roxbury
Focus Area: Innovation in Transit and Access to Mobility Choices, Creative Community Building

The Columbia Road Gender and Mobility Initiative explores the mobility limitations that stem from gender inequities, particularly the gendered experiences of streets. The redevelopment of the Columbia Road corridor provides an opportunity to address the structural problems emerging from the gender data gap that exists in city planning and for meaningful public engagement on the corridor’s renovation. Accordingly, this initiative will amplify women and gender-expansive silenced voices and help them to have a better mobility experience through gender-specific participatory processes that elevate the perceptions of women and non-binary people in an aim to co-design cities that are legitimately for all.

Economic Development: Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Co-creation, and Design
Community: Codman Square
Focus Area: Creative Community Building

Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation in Partnership with the Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action will apply design and design principles to answer the primary research and action question: what is a healthy mix of retail and small business for the neighborhood, and co-generate a community-grounded strategy to support and promote local business that will strengthen the community, improve economic mobility, and advance quality of life for all residents.

The Mattapan Mapping Project
Community: Mattapan
Focus Area: New Models for Housing, Creative Community Building

The pace of urban redevelopment and population growth in the Greater Boston area places residents of historically underinvested, racialized, low-income neighborhoods at risk of displacement. The multi-layered drivers of displacement make data—both quantitative and qualitative—hard to aggregate and track. Therefore, it remains unclear as to which policies could allow for neighborhood improvements without posing displacement pressures on the most vulnerable residents. The Mattapan Mapping Project combines nuanced demographic statistics, land use trends, and audio and video media on an online interactive platform to inform strategies by policymakers, activist scholars, and residents to confront displacement.

For more information, visit the 2020 Winners page.


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