Transdisciplinary Design, Parsons School of Design
New York, NY
Urban Periscopes offers kids unexpected views of East Harlem’s past, present and future.
About the project
Built out of PVC tubes, Urban Periscopes are brightly colored mobile periscopes that offer kids unexpected views of their neighborhood and the city from high altitudes. Attached to each periscope is a collection of transparent filters that depict historic and present day scenes via an etched in silhouette. Most of the filters are curated by community members, but others are blank and can be inscribed by passersby. Simple prompts on blank filters invite people to illustrate or describe the future heroes of the neighborhood.
Kids in the neighborhood are joyful and excited to use Urban Periscopes. In the midst of heightened xenophobia, the project reinforces play and a celebration of resilience. The filters created for the periscope echo messages of pride, curiosity and belonging. By offering such a variety of stimulation, Urban Periscopes engage kids and caretakers of all ages in a multitude of perspectives about the places where they live.