Roles & Reflection — Stuyvesant Cove Park

Few questions to look back…

  • What skills or perspectives do I bring to the project?
  • A personal experience which gives you insight into an aspect of the project?
  • Why the topic is important to address?
  • The challenges I feel exist in creating a successful design?

Stuyvesant Cove Park is a public space located in a highly residential area of Manhattan, New York. It is a beautiful space that provides forgeable natural resources and a resting area along the shoreline of the East River to the park’s user community. The client of this project, Stuyvesant Cove Park’s management, wants to rebuild the park visitors’ connection to both the natural world and to the local communities by augment the user experience of the park’s facilities and its natural resources.

As part of the UX design team, I bring skills and perspective as a user researcher keen on information architecture, and as an installation artist with a strong understanding of the physical materials that can be used for implementations of various design solutions and behaviors of the audience. I had an opportunity to learn about behavioral psychology within user experience design. There, I was able to observe and learn how human cognition, intuition, and habit affect users’ behaviors and attitudes towards various products and services in everyday moments. I found Stuyvesant Cove Park interesting because the essence of the project, while it may seem like the issue of affordances and signifiers within the park, deals with forming news behaviors within visitors’ experience at the park, and their attitudes towards the rich natural resources of the park.

Parks are one of the most crucial infrastructures within an urban environment. Parks offer a sense of community and connection to nature for individuals and open space to express and come together for the various communities. In a way, parks are living spaces that grow along with the community. Stuyvesant Cove Park holds incredible value to extremely various visitors that range from cyclists to foragers. Physical and digital maps, signifiers for visitors’ intuitive wayfinding, and information of the natural resources the park offers build a closer relationship between the park and its visitors. As a pilot project, Stuyvesant Cove Park will provide design solutions for various urban communities’ disconnection to both the natural world and to one another.

The variables of the project are mostly favorable. We have strong trust from the management, room for creative deviation, not much but a workable amount of materials that can be replenished from Materials for the arts. However, one challenge I feel the team is facing is the general lack of time and hands to implement the prototypes and design solutions to the park and document the user tests. As the project exists within a physical space, installing prototypes and document the test results within a limited timeframe will be difficult. However, we might be able to get help from the park’s management and will be conducting different types of user tests simultaneously to maximize testing results for synthesis. It would be extremely helpful to get insights from urban designers on how user tests are conducted.

a multi-disciplinary creator with a passion for purpose-oriented, human-centered, and accessible products