Red Hook is a neighborhood in Brooklyn most often recognized as a the home of big box stores like Ikea and Fairway. Once you are there it is easy to note that this vibrant neighborhood attracts a uniquely diverse population of residents, visitors, and local businesses.
Artist studios, up-and-coming restaurants, life-long residents, and the largest public housing development in the city provide an interesting mix of community characters. However, our earlier* primary research denoted that there seemed to be a invisible divide in Red Hook that discouraged unity and integration within the community.
Resident’s often used the phrase “ there are two Red Hooks” to describe the divide between the east side (largely gentrified) and the West side (which holds the largest public housing complex in New York). While these two populations do share common space, as researchers we could not help but notice that Red Hook residents seemed acutely aware of the divide.
As a group we came together to use William Whyte’s principle of triangulation along with a design-oriented framework to see if we could solve a small part of the “twoRed Hooks” problem. Delving deeper into our research it became clear that residents from each side seem to stay in their respective area, rarely venturing out and exploring what the other side had to offer. We could all relate to the sentiment of staying within our comfort zone in our own communities and felt that by gently encouraging residents to take advantage of little-known community resources they might have an opportunity to find some common ground.