Gloria Lau
I am a landscape architect, urban designer, visual artist, and writer. This site is an evolving documentation of my growth. More about me

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Partnering with Community

Improving access to design services for community groups.

For six years, I served on the board of OACNY, a volunteer-run organization that provides pro-bono design services to underserved communities. Implemented thirteen new projects as director and three additional projects as project coordinator, some shown below.

Concrete Safaris

For 6 years, I worked closely with Concrete Safaris, a non-profit whose mission is to prepare youth in East Harlem and beyond to lead healthy lives and shape their environment through outdoor education, play, exploration, and community engagement. I first met the amazing people at the organization when they reached out to create an obstacle course together with their students. Since then, I have continued to form volunteer teams for their different needs and serve as an advisor.

Jungle Gym
Designed obstacles for a series of summer fairs in East Harlem with a group of 8-12 years old children. Led two different teams of volunteers for two annual fairs.(Project Coordinator: Myself)

Washington Garden Redesigned and installed universally accessible elements at one of Concrete Safaris gardens at New York City Housing Authority campuses. The design team integrated feedback from children and adults who frequent the garden. Supervised a group of 7 volunteers.(Project Coordinator: Christine Berry)

Office Renovation As the organization has started to expand, Concrete Safaris hoped to renovate and reorganize their office to accommodate growth. OACNY partnered with MBB Architects to implement the project. I serve as liaison between the architects and Concrete Safaris and to make sure the design would be transformed smoothly into installation by OACNY.(Project Coordinator: MBB Architects)

Walt Shamel Community Garden

I led a 3 person team to design and construct a 4-bins compost for a community garden who need a system that is sturdy, easy to use, and rodent-proof. We coordinated with the community garden board and members for inputs. We also researched and visited various compost systems in other gardens. The team sourced materials through donations, fundraised, developed working schedule, and installed the compost bins in three build days. (Project Coordinator: Myself)

Street Lab Table Design

Street Lab, a nonprofit that activates public space across the city, needed a table that is sturdy, packable, easy to set up, and works for all ages and abilities. The design team created a knock-down table that interlock and can be reconfigured at two different heights. Project coordinator Hannah continues to work with Street Lab individually and designed more playstreet elements that brought joy to many children. (Project Coordinator: Hannah Berkin-Harper)

Pink Houses Open Space Visioning

OACNY partnered with East New York Restoration and the Tenant Association to visualize a grassroots-initiated design for a new senior fitness hub. Using feedback gathered from the community during a public visioning session and survey, the team created a design to assist our partners to gather funding and coordinate with the public housing authority. Architectural firm Studio 397 and construction firm Equest Builders Corp made this vision a physical reality after funding was secured. (Project Coordinator: Nate Heffron)