Author: Nicole Guzman, Project Coordinator of Design For All
After 5 months of planning and hosting community workshops, our SJSU Industrial Design students created 7 amazing street life models for the community and passerbys in Fountain Alley on May 15.
This final showcase gave us the opportunity to gather more community feedback on how people currently perceive Fountain Alley, and what they hope Fountain Alley will become in the future. See the finished models in the slideshow below.
Design For All is a project that strives to implement design ideas that were equitable and a true reflection of what community members want to see when walking through Fountain Alley.
Executive Director Dayana Salazar, kicked off the event with a welcome speech and focused on thanking our supporters, such as Leslie Speer and her students from DSID 124, Jason Su from San José Downtown Association, and Erin Salazar from Local Color.
Other supporters that attended and spoke at our event include Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who discussed the benefits of incorporating art in Fountain Alley and his desire to support similar projects like this one in the future.
Guest speaker, SJSU Provost Andy Feinstein, emphasized the importance of collaboration between SJSU and Downtown San José, and congratulated the students for working so hard on each of their projects. The final models were a reflection of the creativity that was spurred from engaging with the community.
Activating Fountain Alley is actually one small cog in the wheel; there is a bigger movement to improve other public spaces in Downtown San José, which Stan Vuckovich, SJDA Board President touched upon in his speech. Stan also thanked the Sharks Foundation, who recently donated $20,000 to beautify the area with new string lights and paint to update the planters (teal and black, of course!).
D3 Councilmember Raul Peralez, shared his pride in seeing the Design For All project spark the momentum for reimagining Fountain Alley, and established the importance of continuing partnerships between CommUniverCity, SJSU, and the D3 office in order to implement positive changes for Fountain Alley.
Most importantly, I want to highlight our partnership with Leslie Speer and cohort of Industrial Design students that worked on the Design For All project. They truly exceeded all of our expectations for activating Fountain Alley through their models. The event was a success, and there was definitely a lot of awe and excitement from the attendees.
The students garnered a lot of constructive feedback that reiterated the priorities for making Fountain Alley more safe, walkable, colorful, and “filled with life!”
One of the main takeaways I learned from working on the Design For All project is, collaboration with the community and other organizations will be crucial during the planning process to beautify this public space, and make it an inviting area that is for all.