Comunidad la piedra

Dominican Republic

Community Empowerment

As designers, we must be culturally aware of the communities we serve. We wanted to design with the community and not for them. We did not want to come in and change a culture, but rather to offer some of our design skills to improve the way of living. Our approach was to first observe and then immerse ourselves. We lived with the community to understand their challenges and opportunities. From there, we gained community trust and conducted research. Finally, we were able go into a design process and quickly implement. The experience was a short three weeks, but we were able to work on diverse projects that most importantly supported the youth of La Piedra.

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Trust & Immersion

It was important for our team to know & understand the community before initiating a design response.

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Design Process

Identifying community strengths & collaborative group discussions of research & a possible design response. 

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Community Ownership

Working alongside community members to provide ownership over design process & tools.

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Candid Documentation

One of my growing affections about design is the creative process. Since the start of our community involvement with La Piedra, I naturally captured candid moments of our group experience. My design colleagues also developed a documentation through their perspective and together we were able to create a multimedia documentation that was able to tell the the student experience, but most importantly, the story of Comunidad La Piedra.

Design Response

In our three-week experience we had to work diligently. We implemented a wayfinding system throughout the community, created a dual language educational toolkit, designed a community events board, designed and painted a community mural, contributed to healthcare awareness, and updated Guanin’s online presence.