September 15, 2020

Sasaki Foundation Publishes 2019 Design Grants Research

Sasaki Foundation Publishes 2019 Design Grants Research

This week, the Sasaki Foundation published a report with compelling research from the 2019-2020 cohort of the Sasaki Foundation Design Grants, summarizing three innovative and impactful community-based projects. The projects address a range of challenges, from improving emergency homeless shelters, to exploring methods to increase energy resilience, to tackling gentrification in Boston’s Chinatown. The report also includes research from the two Sasaki Foundation Community Grants teams, who participated alongside the research cohort in the Incubator at Sasaki.

In June 2019, the Sasaki Foundation awarded $45,000 to three research teams, who spent the next ten months in the Incubator at Sasaki advancing and implementing their projects. (In March 2020, all three teams were able to adapt their projects to work virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) While working as a cohort, the team members were also able to leverage the proximity to Sasaki and meet with designers who provided design guidance and a deep breadth of knowledge about solutions to the challenges they faced.

Under the overarching theme of resiliency—environmental, social, and economic—the teams worked in four focus areas: proactive approaches to climate adaptation, new models for housing, innovation in transit and access to mobility choices, and creative community building. The projects are already having a significant impact in their respective communities and will remain as open source research with links to the project websites, to help communities that may be tackling similar issues. Metrics highlighting the impact of these projects are included in the report.

This September, the Sasaki Foundation welcomed its third cohort of researchers chosen for this distinctive and unique opportunity, who are focusing on tackling challenges in the same four areas of housing, mobility, climate, and 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. The three projects will elevate perceptions of women and non-binary people to address the mobility limitations that stem from gender inequities, generate strategies for strengthening the Codman Square community while improving economic mobility, and confront displacement in Mattapan by combining nuanced statistics, trends, and media on an online interactive platform to inform potential strategies.

Through our research grants, the Sasaki Foundation seeks to harness the power of design thinking to promote equity and empower local communities, tackling global challenges through local action. Although the grant residency is currently virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sasaki Foundation continues to provide teams with access not only to designers at Sasaki—an award-winning international design firm—but also to the Sasaki Foundation’s broad network of startups, designers and planners, community groups, artists, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs.

For more information about the work of the Sasaki Foundation visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming programs and opportunities.



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