A Space for Community Belonging

Space Activation

The AIR collaborative wants to activate under-utilized spaces through creative-placemaking, embodied movement, and community collaboration. Building on a foundation of scholarship and practice in landscape architecture, history, design and urban planning, we want to curate publicly accessible spaces where community members can bridge literal and perceived boundaries. As a start, we want to host a series of community dialogues about spatial justice and engage in collaborative knowledge production and design with community members. We will plan a series of community walks and conversations that will explore the New Brunswick landscape and history, focusing on topics of social and environmental justice.


We want to identify an abandoned or underused plot in New Brunswick, where we will build a small garden to use as a gathering place for the community. This place shall activate spontaneous or planned gatherings of all ages and enhance social connections and well-being. It shall also be the point of departure for guided themed walks through New Brunswick. Together with community members, Rutgers students shall design and build this space and program the walks.


AIR Collaborative, alongside Holly Nelson and Vincent Javet (Department of Landscape Architecture at Rutgers), will begin hosting community charettes and focus groups in Spring 2023 to identify community partners and contributors for designing and programming this space.


DRC (Douglass Discovery Program) • Bonner Program • School of Environmental and Biological Sciences • School of Arts and Sciences

Impact: Plant a garden and build an open-air gathering place that cultivates community engagement and invites residents to participate in creative-placemaking. Create a place for new encounters, new dialogues, fun activities and to enhance a sense of belonging in a community.