Eve'sDrop | Accessing, Sharing & Comparing Women's Health Information

Team: Elizabeth Abernethy, Laura Kadamus, Rhea Rakshit, Liora Yuklea

Assignment: How can new ways to access complete information re-frame the way women make choices about reproductive health throughout their whole reproductive lives?

This was a final project for a class on Technologies for Designing Change at the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at SVA. Using a mix of ethnographic and quantitative research methods, our project looked at exploring what first-hand research with both liberal and conservative young women in their 20s and 30s reveals about what's missing from current "family planning" narratives. 

Observations and Implications:

There is a lack of any kind of intentionally designed experience that allows women, particularly between the ages 25 to 30, to privately access, share and compare information about fertility and reproductive health from trustworthy sources, quickly and easily. 

For more information on the final assignments for this class, please click here

The Platform | Subway Performers in NYC

Team: Anna Braga, Jennifer Emmons, Haya Shaath, Rhea Rakshit, Liora Yuklea

Assignment: Identify and build a design hack for an informal economy in New York City. 

This project was an assignment for a class on Makeshift Cities and Informal Economies at the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at SVA. Our team chose to work with unlicensed subway performers in New York City. Over the course of three weeks, we used IBM's design process to prototype a design opportunity that we identified by using insights drawn from the primary research that we conducted.

The idea for our design hack was to build a platform that easily enabled subway performers to increase their online presence by building a portfolio that crowd-sourced content from their audiences. 

The process included direct ethnographic research including field interviews, synthesizing and analyzing the data collected by mapping user personas and scenarios, identifying a one week hill for designing a lean prototype, identifying a sponsor user, testing out our hypotheses and iterating for a second version of the product. 

Family Homelessness in NYC

Team: Laura Kadamus, Michelle Kwon, Rhea Rakshit

Assignment: Identify a design opportunity to develop a prototype for an intervention that addresses a social problem or issue at a systemic level. 

This project was a final assignment for two classes at the MFA Design for Social Innovation program at SVA: Human Natural & Social Systems and Mapping and Visualization Design. Students were required to map the relationships between all stakeholders involved in the issues, in order to identify gaps in the overall system. Students were then required to map out a Theory of Change that would help them decide on the most effective leverage point in the system to design an intervention, which would ultimately lead to the desired outcome through a systemic change.  

Our intervention, Unity Housing, is a model of an improved community development corporation for families making less than 30% of the area median income. Our team chose to address the undersupply of affordable housing stock available for low-income families in New York, which both drives people in to the shelter system, and also prevents families from exiting it. By building clusters of affordable housing on vacant land, the program utilizes economies of scale to provide services to residents. Each property is owned by a community land trust to give tenants an incentive to build a positive environment in depressed areas. Most importantly, the ownership and CDC model guarantees that the apartments remain affordable in the long run, increasing the stock of low income housing.