Dear Neighbor

An alternative model for emergency volunteering

ABSTRACT: Unanticipated disasters produce challenges that threaten human life, but also human rights and social justice. Designers are responsible for deploying creative strategies that respond to the changing conditions of such situations in crisis. Utilizing a collaborative approach, we employed an Alternative Unknowns method to facilitate designers working across disciplines to investigate, experiment, propose, and test systems. The concept can be articulated through a visual service map, research, ideation, and prototyping.

Collaborating Designers

Melika Alipour & Sophie Riendeau

Client

Office of Emergency Management NYC

 

Concept: Dear Neighbor

Create an engagement service in the public space for local communities of New York to feel empowered by instilling a sense of civic duty; informing and connecting them to support each other during a time of hardship. Through the service, users are able to use their personality traits to begin establishing community in their own neighborhoods. Collateral components include a service kiosk with user engagement touchpoints, identification badges, and communication devices for community engagement.

 

Visual Service Map

Our team approach was to create a service before there is a need to build community during a disaster. The small clip below displays human engagement with a service design proposal.

Badges  //  Personality card sets.

Badges  //  Personality card sets.

Personality Tag  //  Detachable keychain tags.

Personality Tag  //  Detachable keychain tags.

Activity Sample  //  A printed example of a story vignette for users to practice personality skill sets.

Activity Sample  //  A printed example of a story vignette for users to practice personality skill sets.

Kiosk  //  A prototype kiosk with a mock-up interface of the Dear Neighbor service design. Photo from a simulation prototype event.

Kiosk  //  A prototype kiosk with a mock-up interface of the Dear Neighbor service design. Photo from a simulation prototype event.

 

Discovery

Inspiring Case Studies

Type of disasters that were researched and synthesized were: man-made, earthquake, tsunami, flooding, disease, storm, and heatwave.

Synthesis: Stages of Disaster

After synthesizing our secondary research, we were able to identify four stages of disaster. 

People with no formal training in emergency relief can be the most helpful in saving people’s lives. Eg: Mole Brigade - a group of citizens that searched collapsed buildings for victims.
— Earthquake, Mexico City, 1985
Boaters saved 500,000 New Yorkers from the World Trade Center site on the day the towers collapsed.
— 9/11, New York City, 2001
 

Development

Ideation Phase

Team members independently drafted potential response ideations in case of a natural disaster. Some were tangible products and others were human-centered services. Using a service-pairing exercise, we were able to construct a response system containing both tangible products and a human-centered design service.  

Prototyping

Variations of the kiosk and collateral were developed from 2D cardstock ideas and then quickly transformed into tangible ideas. The kiosk was composed with 3D applications and the material was made from matboard and cardboard. Additional material used were acrylic material and vinyl adhesives.