Urban Quotient [UQ] is offering a Summer 2019 Fellowship to a qualified student who will assist the firm in our work at the intersection of design and public policy. The fellow will be expected to independently research given topics and provide concise and accurate summaries, provide detailed analysis, and maintain proper documentation for possible future publication. The fellow will also be asked to assist in the preparation of analytical and descriptive drawings that illustrate concepts developed by the team.
One of the country’s most urgent challenges is reform of our criminal justice system. New York City is in an unprecedented push to close the Rikers Island Detention Facilities and create a borough-based jail system. The goal of building these four new facilities is to end the isolation of inmates, reduce incarceration and recidivism, and integrate jails into our communities. City government has moved quickly to approve the general plan for relocation but has engaged in very little real community engagement in the process. While the goals are laudable and Rikers must be closed, there is very little detail on the actual planning and design of these facilities. In addition to the criminal justice crisis, the City also faces overlapping and deeply entwined crises of housing, homelessness, and mental health. Since these proposed sites are on city land, more should be done to address all of these issues and not just one in isolation. UQ is assembling a multi-disciplinary team of architects, community advocates, mental health and criminal justice professionals, planners, and others to look more closely at these issues and try to propose improvements to the current plan – focusing on the Bronx Tow Pound Site as a testing ground that could provide insight for the other sites as well.
UQ worked with Community Access and the local community on an urban design and planning study for the Tow Pound Site from 2015 - 2017. The working group will draw from this previous experience as we work to develop recommendations.