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Designing for More Effective Protests

A flash competition in New York City asks designers to come up with way to make protests stand out as they become more frequent.
One project proposes giant balloons that enable people from across the city to pay attention to smaller protests.
One project proposes giant balloons that enable people from across the city to pay attention to smaller protests.Van Alen Institue

It’s safe to assume the day after Inauguration Day brought the largest protests of Donald Trump’s presidency. The Women’s March brought out hundreds of thousands of protesters across America, turning cities’ parks, squares, and plazas into seas of pink pussycat hats.

It’s also safe to assume there will be more protests to come, and that they may be smaller and more dispersed around cities. That’s the argument made by a handful of design and architecture organizations in an open letter in January to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggesting ways the city could make its streets more protest friendly. The Van Alen Institute, one of the signatories, recently followed that up with a related question: How can New Yorkers themselves design for better protests, to make them more inclusive and accessible to the city’s diverse population?