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POLO GROUNDS GARDENS: Collaborative Design

2019-20 | Polo Grounds Towers, NYC | Design Consultancy, Center For Court Innovation

Designers: Alaa Marrawi, Gabriel Vergara | Community Coordinator: Ramon Caba 


The collaborative design of NYCHA open spaces challenges the notions of authorship in design practice. This work was developed as a design assistantship for the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) under the Mayor ́s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety in NYC. Together with NYCHA residents of Polo Grounds Houses, We created a series of design ideas to envision and implement interventions to transform public space and enhance public life. Precedent images, plans, and renderings feed an archive of design ideas to serve as a database for future implementation, construction, and programming. Drawing by drawing, design ideas were discussed, challenged, and shared to get consensus among the residents. We - designers - positioned ourselves to bridge residents’ aspirations and design outcomes. We used drawings as dynamic tools to guide and foster stewardship among residents.

Stakeholders identified four spaces to intervene under the concepts of Unity, Serenity, Aromatherapy, and Peace. Each intervention required to include flower gardens to fill the gardens with scents, remove fences to replace them with benches and planters, and program underutilized spaces to create gardens with public access to bring a sense of unity among multigenerational community members. This open spaces will provide community outdoor activities like cinema, family days and other public events.


"Unity" Garden Design Proposals >

collage 1.jpg
Community Center Gardens1-01.jpg
Community Center Garden Plan.jpg

"Peace" Garden Design Proposals >

Peace Garden aerial-01.jpg

"Serenity" Garden Design Proposals >

Serenity garden.jpg
Serenity garden aerial.jpg

"Aromatic" Garden Design Proposals >

Yin Yang Image.jpg
Bench details.jpg
Yin Yang Plan.jpg
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