Incubator Program for Students and Recent Alumni of the School of Design Strategies at Parsons Will Support Projects with Potential for Positive Social or Environmental Impact

Parsons DESIS Lab to Provide Educational Programs, Events and Other Resources

Citysteading, one of five Parsons projects that will be incubated at the Centre for Social Innovation

NEW YORK, June 19, 2013—Parsons The New School for Design, including its School of Design Strategies and DESIS Lab, and the Centre for Social Innovation have announced a new partnership that will create an incubator program for Parsons students and recent alumni launching design-led social innovation projects. Centre for Social Innovation is a Toronto-based organization that has recently opened a 24,000-square-foot space in the Starrett-Lehigh building in New York, which supports changemakers in the NGO, public, business and academic sectors.

The first cycle of the incubator program will officially launch this month, and continue through September 2014. Five projects were selected, which were developed by five teams totaling 15 students and recent alumni of two innovative graduate programs in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons: the MS Design and Urban Ecologies and the MFA Transdisciplinary Design. In addition, the DESIS (Design for Sustainability and Social Innovation) Lab at Parsons will create programming for the Centre that will not only shape the incubator program, but also benefit other changemakers in residency at the Centre.

“The incubator program represents a joint commitment by CSI and Parsons to invest in the next generation of innovators to accelerate their efforts,” said Eli Malinsky, the executive director of the Centre for Social Innovation, New York. “We are proud to have Parsons as our first academic partner in New York City. We see this partnership as an opportunity to bridge academic and professional worlds—to provide the type of professional resources and connections that the students will need.”

The selected projects include Bike Flocks, an urban, clean energy transportation system focused on biking; Make Your Mark, an urban parks stewardship program for youth that connects STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) to design and social change; Enacting Policy, an educational platform for understanding complex policy issues that incorporates role-playing, storytelling and mapping techniques; Co-Kreate, an innovative and sustainable housing alternative that generates economic development, and supports education and community development; and Citysteading, a community-driven process that seeks to empower marginalized urban populations to have a voice in driving important policy issues such as affordable housing and environmental protection. EDITOR'S NOTE: For additional information on the selected projects, click here.

“The projects selected for this first cycle of the incubator truly reflects the diverse range of work that takes place at the School of Design Strategies at Parsons, which is home to programs that apply design thinking to problems in the urban realm, the environment, business innovation, and services and systems,” said Alison Mears, dean of the School of Design Strategies at Parsons. “By partnering with the Centre, we are able to provide our students with a true means of making their work a reality and create new economies.”

Said Eduardo Staszowski, director of the Parsons DESIS Lab: “It has been proven that innovation comes from the type of cross-collaborative, knowledge-based exchanges that the Centre for Social Innovation seeks to foster. We look forward to contributing to this exchange, by leading out programming that builds upon the bottom-up approach to innovation we have developed in our work.”

About Parsons The New School for Design
Parsons The New School for Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit

About the DESIS Lab at Parsons
Parsons DESIS Lab, housed in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons The New School for Design, brings together faculty and students from across the disciplines at Parsons and The New School to research, promote, and amplify community-based solutions for sustainability in New York City. For more information, visit

About the Centre for Social Innovation
Launched in May 2013, the Centre for Social Innovation is New York City’s first coworking space exclusively for the social change community. Occupying 24,000 square feet in the Starrett-Lehigh building, CSI is home to more than 80 nonprofits and social ventures.  For more information, visit   

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Media Contacts:

Deborah Kirschner
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