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The New School Presents Amplify: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles in the Lower East Side


NEW YORK, NY.- The New School presents AMPLIFY: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles in the Lower East Side, an exhibition of sustainable community design, including innovative neighborhood gardening initiatives, in New York City’s Lower East Side. AMPLIFY proposes a dialogue within the local community about creating a sustainable future. The exhibition is the culmination of the first year of Amplifying Creative Communities, an ongoing project spearheaded by The New School’s Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability Research Lab (DESIS Lab), which aims to develop creative, sustainable lifestyles by strengthening the grassroots activities that exist within New York City neighborhoods. AMPLIFY will be on view from August 5 to September 15 at the Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement.

“Creative communities like those on the Lower East Side can change how cities operate, modeling grassroots action that spurs sustainable, community-based exchange,” said Lara Penin, assistant professor, School of Design Strategies, Parsons The New School for Design. “Focusing on the Lower East Side’s different social innovation practices—including community gardens, healthy food systems and collaborative services for senior citizens—AMPLIFY both showcases design improvements driven by Desis Lab’s contributions, and catalyzes the dissemination of such programs across the city and the world.”

AMPLIFY will showcase the process for investigating and designing new scenarios for social innovation practices, developed by New School professors and students at DESIS Lab as part of the Amplifying Creative Communities project. Highlights of the installation will include: a large-scale map of local sustainability initiatives, profiles of local grass-roots innovators and a selection of social innovation cases from around the world.

Founded in 2009, the New School’s DESIS Lab was awarded with the Cultural Innovation Fund 2009 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. DESIS Lab brings together faculty and students from across the university, led by Parsons The New School for Design and Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, to research, promote, and amplify community-based solutions for sustainability in New York City. The New School, a research university, has established the DESIS Lab as the next step in its commitment to playing a leading role in the emerging field of design for social change, and more specifically, social innovation.

Amplifying Creative Communities is a two-year project, which will shift its examination of community innovation to another New York City borough during the 2010-2011 academic year.

The New School | AMPLIFY: Creative and Sustainable Lifestyles | Lara Penin |





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