The No Barriers Project

A Knight Foundation Cities Challenge in collaboration with Parsons The New School for Design and IDEO

Winter/Spring 2015


The [No Barriers] project identifies physical barriers between diverse communities that may act as real and symbolic divides, and encourages communities to work together to connect, create and celebrate within that space.

Chisun Reese, Knight Blog


A primary driver for this project was the act of co-creation. This demanded that our intervention be accessible and tactile. We believe that such a participatory and physically engaged act of cooperation would provide new insights about how the collective community wished to interact with the park. Where would they naturally gather? What structures did they feel were missing? How might they redefine the park layout or the pathways that move across it? We became interested in the form of building blocks because they represented a familiar language for play and ideation. Finally, a set of white modular blocks became the tabula rasa for the event. They were lightweight, stackable, movable and writable. We invited participants to stack them, sit on them or use them for games. We also encouraged them to visually map, draw and write directly on the blocks. In that way, local interests, concerns and aspirations became embedded in the blocks over the course of the event.