The Future of Labor/Neighbors

︎Role: research, illustration


This project highlights a collaborative transdisciplinary design research approach to develop a future design proposal.

In the near future, the complete automation of the workforce has the ability to liberate humans from menial labor, servitude and debt. Together with many social and economic systems changing, what will the future of labor look like, and how will new forms of work affect the way we live?
Target Community: Long Island City, NY, the waterfront area
Current Impact: Gentrification causing transition from industrial to residential
Future Pain Points: Residential high rises equipt with complete facilities, preventing street and community activity from happening
Current Opportunity Space: The neighborhood is relatively new and growing. Lots of possibilities for changes.  

︎Long Island City view: high rise residential and office towers. (Image courtesy: Francisco Rosario)

Long Island City is the fastest growing neighborhood in New York. Soon to be the home for Amazon’s second headquarter, this neighborhood is again expecting many more opportunities and changes.


1. Collaborative Research Dossier
The class started with group research on 3 different aspects of L.I.C - the residential, the industrial and the immigrants.

Throughout our research process, we have got in contact with the Sunnyside Community Center, different factories and residents to dive deeper into the communities to understand current situation and issues.

  ︎Collective research dossier that contains the collective research documents. 

2. Focused Research

During research field trips, we observed that there are many strollers in the streets, at coffee shops. We used the “fly-on-the-wall” approach and counted for 13 moms/parents with strollers visiting the coffee shops we were sitting in, and we met many more of them in the streets. After talking to some people we met, we learned that many of them were nannies taking care of the baby while parents were at work in Manhattan. 

Given that the people who live in the waterfront are mainly young professionals (25 to 39 years old), many with young children (Rappaport, 2006). This made me wonder, what if the future of work does not separate parents and kids all day long, and connects people with each other in this high rise residential community where there is a significant lack of street level facilities? 

︎Counting strollers we encounter in a Long Island City waterfront neighborhood


︎Preliminary Sketches of ideas

To test my ideas, I brought preliminary sketches of proposal back to the field to get feedbacks and suggestions from local residents. 

︎Getting feedbacks of the collaborative common from residents

The final proposal is a collaborative common in the future neighborhood of L.I.C, the idea is to bring work and early childhood education together. As illustrated in the image, the space has multiple floors and different rules on the use of technological devices apply to different floors. The reason being that many pedagogical researches and methods have proved that introducing digital devices to children in their later age is actually better for their emotional and intellectual development, than if they were exposed to digital distractions in an early age.  

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