At the symposium Unsitely! – Leveraging Design to Improve Urban Construction Sites, Susanna Sirefman, President of New York City-based Dovetail Design Strategists, gave a presentation entitled “The Design Competition: The Power of the Process.”
Reimagining the design of temporary protective structures at construction sites is necessary to improve our individual and collective experience of the cityscape. The biggest hurdle to enacting design change at urban construction sites is not recognition of this fact, but the competing political, social and economic agendas of multiple stakeholders and the limited resources allotted to addressing this need.
The construct of the design competition can be used to examine these issues, bring consensus on the need for change, serve as a catalyst for action, generate new ideas, discover fresh perspectives, and lay the political, social and economic groundwork for execution. How might a design competition be structured so that innovation, change and buy-in may be implemented as smoothly as possible?
Ms. Sirefman examines the above questions through the lens of two civic competitions developed and led by her consultancy, Dovetail Design Strategists, on behalf of the City of New York: the urbanSHED International Design Competition, which challenged the global design community to reinvent the sidewalk shed, and the Urban Canvas Design Competition, which created a pilot program providing access to competition-winning, pre-approved artwork packages for the construction sites.