Seattle Design Festival 2015 - The Exploration of Equitable Public Space

December 23, 2015

Miller Hayashi participated in the 2015 Seattle Design Festival. The Seattle Design Festival is a city-wide event sponsored by the Seattle AIA and Design in Public. The event showcases the design impact on societal issues. The 2015 theme – Design for Equity invited the community to explore the definition of equity and demonstrate how design can improve the quality of space for everyone. This event was a great opportunity for our firm to get involved with the community, and provide an open forum through a physical design installation.

Wrestling with the theme of the design festival, we started to ask ourselves:

  • What is equitable public space?
  • What is our favorite public space?

We teamed up with our friends at YouthCare – a non-profit organization that provides services, housing and outreach programs for transient youth in the Seattle area to address these questions. Through a sit-down workshop and an open discussion with the youth, we discovered the answers to “what is equitable space” varied. Not only were the answers surprising, but enthusiasm from the youth’s participation inspired us.. Our installation posed these same questions to the whole community and represented the youths’ voices through an interactive physical installation.

The installation consisted of a sculptural chain-link fence, and diamond shaped plastics showcasing the voices of MHA, youth, and the community. Festival participants were invited to write their answers on the plastic alongside the responses from participants at YouthCare. At the end of the festival, the fence was filled with plastic gems displaying the community’s views of equitable space.   The goal was to provide awareness on what transient youth encountered in public space, and to provide perspective on inequities these kids encountered in public space on a daily basis.