June 10, 2022

Sasaki Foundation Announces Design Grants Winners

Sasaki Foundation Announces 2022 Design Grants Winners

The Sasaki Foundation announced today the winning teams for its 2022 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.

Each year, the Sasaki Foundation announces research topics that address current trends and inequities in design. In 2022, the Sasaki Foundation focused on Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation, New Models for Housing, Innovation in Transit and Access to Mobility Choices, Creative Community Building, and Innovation in Health and Wellbeing, under the theme of Shared Voices: Charting a Course for Community Action. This theme recognizes that multiple futures are at stake, and we can make a difference by acting now.

“We were impressed by the response we received from applicants, our partners, and communities,” says Jennifer Lawrence, Executive Director. “The Sasaki Foundation is excited to fund innovative projects focused on bringing new, local solutions to global challenges, including social equity, care infrastructure, clean energy, food justice, affordable housing, and green infrastructure.”

Applicants proposed projects to win cash awards and dedicated time with Sasaki designers. In the program’s fourth year, the Foundation received 20 applications from multi-member teams competing for the opportunity to take advantage of this unique relationship with Sasaki, a global design firm. The projects represented 52 organizations and institutions, 9 Boston communities, 3 Greater Boston cities, and 5 Gateway Cities.

The Sasaki Foundation Design Grants jury selected seven teams to advance to Pitch Night, which took place on May 25 at the new Lamplighter location in Cambridge Crossing. Each team had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of more than 65 designers, planners, artists, community leaders, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs.

“We had a fantastic jury, representing a wide range of life experiences and Boston area organizations: Boston Harbor Now, the Boston Housing Authority, Groundwork USA, Powerful Pathways, and Tufts University, who evaluated the teams on the design, equity, inclusion, innovation, and impact of their ideas,” says Elaine Limmer, Jury Chair and Vice-chair of the Sasaki Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “We’re excited to welcome these new teams tackling projects that will empower communities within Massachusetts. We also look forward to exploring new ways to support our Design Grants cohort through our upcoming move downtown, right next door to Chinatown and easily accessible for all our teams.”

The names of the 2022 Design Grants winners are as follows:

Chinatown Energy Literacy Campaign
Community: Chinatown
Focus Area: Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation

The 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.

Combating Green Gentrification: Exploring Green Roofs on Affordable Housing
Community: Chelsea
Focus Area: Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation, New Models for Housing, Creative Community Building, Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

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, we are exploring opportunities to build green roofs on affordable housing units to reduce urban heat island effects and improve access to green space in our low-income, Latinx environmental justice community.

Groundwork Somerville’s New Urban Farm
Community: Somerville
Focus Area: Proactive Approaches to Climate Adaptation, Creative Community Building, Innovation in Health and Wellbeing

Groundwork Somerville is proud to submit this proposal for a Design Grant from the Sasaki Foundation for the next critical phase of our strategic plan: a new farm, office, greenhouse, and marketspace for Groundwork Somerville. There are two viable options for our 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.

See You in the Future
Community: Mass. and Cass
Focus Area: Creative Community Building

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, we will share honest stories about the myriad of journeys that bring folks here. In gathering different groups in creative conversation, we will both nurture and tend to the caring future that is already rooted but often unseen. In our site-specific co-creative process, we 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.

For more information, visit the 2022 Winners page.

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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