Skip to content

FAQs: Community + Collaborative Design

If you have any questions that are not addressed below, we invite you to reach out to BSA Community Design Director, Ben Peterson.

View a few informational videos below to learn more about C + CD and participating designers in 2021.

Information Session: Community + Collaborative Design

Session hosted on May 11, 2021

Meet the Design Teams

Session hosted June 17, 2021

How do I get involved?

Call for Projects and Partners

People know their neighborhoods, their needs, their assets, their histories. People might not always know that spatial designers can help address these needs, assets, and histories of place. Community and Collaborative Design projects hope to cultivate new partnerships with neighborhood advocates, community associations, and mission-driven organizations who may be interested in exploring how design might be a resource. Could your organization or neighborhood benefit from the knowledge of designers? Tell us how we might connect you to design resources to help support your goals.

Call for Designers and Design Teams

Community and Collaborative Design projects at the BSA hope to build relationships as much as they build the environments in which we live, work, and play. Design that encourages the stewardship of places, that confronts injustice, and that fosters joy requires new, collaborative models for action. Are you a designer, a design team, or a professional from another discipline hoping to exchange knowledge and explore new models of collaborative design practice? Design benefits from a variety of perspectives and expertise and we welcome all who have an interest in shaping new ways of shaping the built environment. Tell us how you’d like to get involved.

What types of projects and design services will be offered?

Project Type 1 | Targeted Technical Assistance

1 to 2 months (Pro-Bono)

Community Partners seeking assistance related to specific aspects of the design delivery process. Technical assistance services address the need for additional information or focused, limited design resources in a project’s development. Targeted technical assistance does not include visioning, engagement strategies, or conceptual design. Organizations or businesses that have the ability to do so, should retain paid professional design services.

Possible Services:
Existing conditions documentation and assessment; building systems assessments; space planning or programming; drawing review; RFP creation; energy modeling; retrofit or renovation assessments; temporary permitting assistance.

1 - 2 products, as defined by project.

Project Type 2 | Visioning and Conceptual Development

2 to 4 months (Pro-Bono/Funded/Development Fee)

Community Partners seeking preliminary or pre-design services that may help to prioritize spatial decision-making, to develop collateral for fundraising, to visualize opportunities for design, and to cultivate stakeholder engagement.

Possible Services:
Existing conditions drawings and assessment, site analysis and planning, preliminary code review, programming and space planning, conceptual design drawings (site plans, floor plans, elevations, renderings), community workshop facilitation and creative engagement, sustainability strategies, identity, wayfinding, or environmental graphics, preliminary cost estimates.

Final document to include all relevant analysis and drawings and targeted recommendations for next steps in the project’s development. This document will not include drawings for permitting or construction. Community partners are encouraged to continue the work with their collaborating design teams for a negotiated fee for service. Where feasible, project development fees may be supported by small grant funding.

Project Type 3 | Coalition, Capacity Building + Design Development

8 to 12+ months (Pro-Bono/Funded)

Community Partners seeking to advance their mission and build capacity. The services of design professionals and multi-disciplinary teams will address the needs of Community Partners to address larger, more complex issues and scenarios. Recognizing the complexity of issues related to public health, racial justice, environmental justice, and civic participation, Type 3 projects aim to build coalitions across a diverse array of stakeholders and lived experiences. Capacity building and design development projects may or may not include the provision of architectural drawings, but will advance and explore new models for equitable design and development in the civic realm. Where feasible, Type 3 projects will be supported by funding sources or will explore funding opportunities.

Possible Services:
Project Type 2 Services + BSA platforms (events, conversations, exhibitions), access to BSA Knowledge Communities, assistance navigating policy and regulatory frameworks, historical and contemporary analysis, organizing, campaign-building, fundraising strategies.

Final document to include all relevant analysis and drawings and targeted recommendations for next steps in the project’s development. This document will NOT include drawings for permitting or construction, but the project may provide small-scale limited design-build oversight.

Who is eligible to sign up as a designer?

Anyone who can offer design services is invited to sign up! We might expect architects, landscape architects, urban planners, graphic designers, interior designers, artists, etc. to apply.

Who is eligible to submit a project for design assistance?

Neighborhood advocates, community associations, and mission-driven organizations who may be interested in exploring how design might be a resource are encouraged to apply. Not sure if you qualify? We want to hear from you! Please reach out to [email protected].

What are some examples of previous projects?

We have worked collaboratively in a variety of roles to help community projects access design services. For example:

Vision Chelsea Creek:
C+CD at the BSA served in an advisory capacity for The Harborkeepers of East Boston in their design engagement with SCAPE Studio and Utile and in their communication with the City of Boston as they designed and delivered a community-supported visioning process for Chelsea Creek.

C + CD at the BSA built a coalition of professional designers (led by architects from Payette, LAB Architecture Group, and Autodesk), public health experts, engineers, and real estate professionals in the service of identifying and assessing surplus spatial inventory to alleviate pressures anticipated by an early surge of COVID-19 cases.

Mass + Cass:
C + CD at the BSA collaborated with City departments and agencies (MONUM, the Office of Recovery Services) and the Boston Architectural College to research and visualize the complex intersections of public space, the experiences of homelessness, public health, and the spatial narratives of community “well-being” as they migrate into design, planning, or policy making.