Bland Hoke and Howard Chambers on cities working for people.

Bland Hoke and Howard Chambers explore how design can transform cities, making them more dynamic and turning them into real community assets.

Cities work best when they are designed for people. This is a belief that informs much of the work Parson the New School for Design graduates Bland Hoke and Howard Chambers do.

At Design Indaba Conference 2013 the duo shared their Softwalks project, an initiative that consists of a "Kit of Parts" that helps to make public spaces more open to interaction and socialising. 

Softwalks is built on three core ideas: Small changes equal big effects, innovation within existing infrastructure is ideal, and place  making and designing for people is the way forward.

Using these ideas, Hoke and Chambers sought ways to make public space on the streets of New York City more accessible and aesthetically pleasing. As scaffolding is a common sight, the project aims to make full use of the heavy-duty temporary structures as they line down the streets of the city.

The “Kit of Parts” includes chairs, planters and counters to create more functional spaces where the public can sit, chat and appreciate the hustle and bustle of New York City life, amidst the scaffolding. 

"Design is meant to make the world around us a better place. If design can bring to life interaction and imagination, we think it’s a project worth doing,"  the duo believe.

Bland and Chambers are currently working with local organisations in New York City to realise their project and hope to extend it to cities around the world.