The Future of Labor

a mobile 4d Certification Center for Manufacturing workers

Models of work continue to evolve due to changes in policy, emerging technology, and social behaviors as a few examples. With many social and economic systems changing, what will be the future of labor practices? The project highlights a collaborative transdisciplinary design research approach to develop a future design proposal for Long Island City (LIC).

Main Collaborators: Juliana Chohfi, Alyssa Kropp
Current Impact: Gentrification causing transition from industrial to residential
Future Pain Points: Amazon's implementation of home-delivery service; emerging technology affecting manufacturing workers
Opportunity Space: Immigrant group cooperatives or worker-led organizations
Organization Insider: LIC Partnership - “advocate for economic development”
Role: Research collaboration, identified frameworks, visual designs

Credit: Juliana Chohfi


Design Process Methodology

The diagram below is an investigative process to identify how to problem find and solve.

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Collaborative Research phase

Research Dossier

facts to Hunches

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  • New automated machinery will force manufacturing employees out of work

  • Certified training is necessary to compete with emergent technology

  • Co-working spaces will impact manufacturing companies



How might we deliver certified training to LIC manufacturing workers to respond to the increased use of emerging technology?


Developed from observations, interviews and desk research. Our focus area was centered in the human capital and opportunity quadrant.

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Early concept development was guided by primary and secondary research. Partnering business and organizations were the leading experts to inform current industry pain points and opportunity spaces. The first ideation approach was to independently sketch a response to hunches generated from the research phase. To create the sketches, abstract toys were constructed and then given a realistic product / service function.

The future of co-working: 
Team analysis revealed the digital opportunities to further connect people in co-working spaces. The most consistent data recognizes the increase of co-working spaces and remote working employees. The image sketches and proposes a mobile application to identify facility resources and acknowledge people's working status for potential networking or collaboration.

Redefining the Concept

Research alignment

After further interviews with LIC Partnership, co-working spaces did not seem to be the most prominent future development for LIC. With more insights, ideation drafting, and service pairing exercises, a new concept surfaced responding to emerging technology, cooperative models, education, and mobility.