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Transforming Neighborhood Environments

This tool goes through the design process to redesign existing spaces to solve a particular problem.

7/10 Syrian students have experienced bullying, while 55% of all students in Jordan have experienced bullying. Bullying has shown to have a significant impact on a student’s learning experience and academic performance. The team wanted to focus on increasing student’s social emotional skills, but didn’t know where to begin.

In many schools in Jordan, the school day is split into two — in the morning, Jordanians go to school, while in the afternoon, Syrians go to school. The team observed that bullying typically occurs during that transition period, when Jordanian students are leaving and Syrian students are just arriving. This presented an opportunity for the team.

Example English

A cooperative outdoor mobile game for students ages 12 - 15 years old. The game begins with a shipwreck, where students have to go on a treasure hunt to find their way back home. A mobile app prompts students through a series of questions that they need to answer to advance to the next scene. The app has different levels of difficulty, attracting students to return again and again.

  1. Select a specific space from your neighborhood, such as a butcher shop, a grocery store, a public park or even a hair salon, and brainstorm how you might transform it.
  2. Come up with at least three ways the chosen space could be transformed into a space that solves the problem.
  3. Present your ideas to the affected persons in the community and collect their feedback.
  4. Reflect on that feedback, re-formulate your strongest idea with that feedback and mind.
  5. Create paper prototypes and present it back to your user group. A paper prototype can include a storyboard, mobile app, website, or even a conversation between two people..

* Ideally, you’ll want lots of room to write or draw for this activity, so either print this exercise on A2 size paper or draw this template out on a whiteboard. But if neither are available, a simple piece of paper will work too!

It allowed me to notice the public spaces around me as an opportunity for learning. I saw that vulnerable people and refugees were usually in public spaces. They were spending a lot of time there when they are not in school. We began to notice the makeup of the street, the signs, the sidewalk... It benefited me because it taught me to observe, and to get feedback from people. At first I was very resistant, it did not make sense. But then I started to really think about it — it allowed me to notice what was available around me and to come up with a solution that met people where they are.


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