Wall of Possibilities

2010 - 2011

Goal: An idea sharing installation for the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA

Users: Pittsburgh Homewood residents of all ages

Why: Bring attention to a public space near the busway in need of repair through a bright and friendly installation that inspires residents to imagine what that space could become.

My role: Sole designer doing user research, graphic design, and installation design

Process: I started this project with the goal of bringing greater attention to Pittsburgh's neglected public spaces and their great potential. The preceding season, I documented and analyzed public spaces in 5 Pittsburgh neighborhoods in an attempt to understand what could be added to or altered about these spaces to make them more pleasant for people. During this time I came across the Homewood portion of the East Busway. This public space was on the URA's list to restore, but no one had reached out to Homewood neighborhood residents to see what they might want the space to become. Inspired by the dialogue-sparking installations of Candy Chang and other similar artists, I designed a wall of possibilities to be installed adjacent to the busway space. The possibilities for the space were submitted by community residents and written on weather-resistent tags that were then attached to the fence surrounding the space. Residents or bus commuters were encouraged to walk by the wall of possibilities, take a possibility tag, read it, consider it, and then send their thoughts to the web address on the back of the tags. This was a way of getting people to consider the possibilities for the space, while also driving them to the project site which contained a schedule of community meetings and design reviews which community members could attend.

Outcome: Over the 8 weeks that the installation was in the space, nearly 500 of the possibility tags were taken from the fence by community members. Awareness of the busway space redesign increased dramatically, as did attendance to the community meetings and design reviews related to the project. 


Above is a photo taken below the Homewood East Busway station. The public space of interest was on the other side of this bridge. Below you'll see the public space on the left and the first mockup of the installation on the right.


Once I decided on the form of the installation, I designed the possibility tags to be die-cut in weather-proof vellum. I then hand wrote all the possibilities submitted by the community members on the 500+ tags.