Neighborhood Design Project


Neighborhood Design Project will build capacity for local economic development by empowering young people to use creativity as a force for change and community building.

Neighborhood Design Project is a hands-on and teen led program that highlights the importance of community collaboration to create lasting and relevant change. The program will teach teens design skills in an accessible, engaging, and meaningful way — and we’ll do professional development for the adults who support and guide these teens in Cambridge. Starting February 2020, teams of 6-10 students between 14-15 years old will participate in the 14-week program. With the help of mentors and coaches, leaders in the design and innovation economies, teens will learn strategies for problem identification and empathetic research methods before engaging with their communities to understand problems, identify livability challenges, and use creative problem solving to explore solutions. The program culminates with a presentation showcase and public exhibition of the work.

The reiteration of this program in conjunction with Design Museum will strengthen the support structures within which the teens create their solutions. Understanding that design careers and pathways are often purposefully made opaque to underserved teens, the Design Museum will act as a bridge between the teens and the design community at large. Ultimately, this partnership will enable teens to grow their professional and 21st century skills, building the confidence and knowledge to navigate the systems surrounding youth enrichment opportunities.

Program at a Glance

  • 14-week program
  • Teens are paid for their time
  • 6-10 youth per team, each paired with a mentor and design coach
  • Focus on problem solving, job skills, and creating solutions
  • Outcomes presented through special event & exhibition
  • Connections to mentorships, internships, and resources

Support the Program 

Community based programs are most successful with the direct support of the community. Donate to help Design Museum create the most transformative experience for participating teens. All donors will be acknowledged for their generosity and invited to the final showcase.