Prototyping Solutions for Public Spaces

Prototyping public spacesWhen: Saturday, October 15 & Sunday, October 16

Where: Room 302 – CERAS Building, Stanford

Who: Corinne Okada Takara (Okada Design, Cupertino, CA, USA)


Explore ways to engage students in urban design questions through a hands-on STEAM maker journey. Participants will create small scale models of how they would re-imagine an existing public space so that it serves more community needs. Such projects can expand student engagement into local public spaces and transit conversations. What community and environmental criteria can students identify and apply to their designs? Using Makey Makeys and simple resistors such as LED lights and small motors, we will explore integrating simple circuitry into small scale cardboard models. This design journey can leverages student knowledge of local community, scale and proportion, and highlights the relevance of such understandings. We will be referencing the Alisal Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy plan as a guiding primary source text and will apply knowledge gleaned from the data towards developing design solutions.

Working through the design thinking process, participants will ask questions, research an existing revitalization plan, define a civic or environmental need to address, ideate, build a prototype with embedded circuitry, and share their concepts. The final prototypes will be photographed against a backdrop of a public space in the Alisal neighborhood of Salinas, California.

Participants are welcome to work as individuals or in teams.  


Workshop schedule:

  • Introduction (10 minutes)
  • Summary of the goals and methodology. The workshop will be worked on in pairs or individually. Each team will build a prototype of a public space structure addressing community and environmental needs of a specific neighborhood.
  • Safety and Material Management Recommendations/ Basic Circuitry Learning Through Discovery
  • Research & Ideating (20 minutes)
  • Construction of scale models with embedded circuitry (1 hour)
  • Final presentation and photographing on stage (10 minutes)