New School News

Parsons Desis Lab Launches Innovative Public-Private Partnership

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design, and the Public Policy Lab have announced an innovative new partnership to explore ways to facilitate community engagement in the development of housing-related services in New York City. The research effort will be led by a team of Public Policy Lab Fellows, and Parsons faculty and students, who will target specific neighborhoods where HPD programs and initiatives are most active, starting with the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area in the Melrose section of The Bronx.

The core of HPD’s mission is to improve the quality and availability of housing in New York City,, said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. Through this collaboration we hope to gain authoritative insight from an external perspective as to how people view, access and take advantage of the services we provide. I look forward to a fascinating and engaging partnership with the Parsons DESIS Lab and the Public Policy Lab.,

This initiative is part of Public & Collaborative, a global effort of the DESIS Network in which more than a dozen academic design labs around the world will explore how to enhance the connections between citizens and public services.

This partnership builds upon the work of the Parsons DESIS Lab over the past several years, where we have researched socially innovative activities that develop organically within communities and help to amplify them to affect change on a larger scale,, said Eduardo Staszowski, director of the Parsons DESIS Lab. Through this project, we hope to replicate the success of this approach by helping HPD identify and enable positive social innovations already occurring within their program areas. The ultimate goal is to improve public services, particularly for New York’s low- and moderate-income communities, by facilitating greater collaboration between residents, designers and City agencies.,

Parsons will host a series of four lectures this month and in April that will bring together leading European and New York City designers with policymakers to explore the intersection of social innovation and public service. The lecture series is being organized by Staszowski and Ezio Manzini, the founder of the DESIS Network, who is serving as a visiting professor at Parsons this spring. For more info visit

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