AIR Hub: 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.

The AIR Hub should be a multi-purpose, open-air community gathering space that also facilitates the interaction between the New Brunswick community and Rutgers students, staff, and faculty.

In February 2023, we started hosting community conversations at the New Brunswick Free Public Library with the help of our Spring 2023 Douglass Discovery Program Interns. We continued these dialogues about spatial justice with the New Brunswick Parks Commission and engaged in collaborative knowledge production. We want to continue these dialogs and settle on an appropriate space and program by Spring 2024.


We identified a few currently underused or vacant spaces in New Brunswick that could serve as the site of the AIR Hub. There, we would like to build and plant 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.


With the support of DRC Discovery Program interns, AIR Collaborative (Kristin O’Brassil-Kulfan and Anette Freytag) started 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.

Community gathering at the Free Public Library NB
Map of New Brunswick