2013 Projects
Hidden Gems
Cristina Noguer Guardiola

My intention with this project is to reduce the difference between members of New York society. NY attracts thousands of immigrants every years those people at some point may become citizens. Ideally they should feel new Yorkers, speak English and add value to the city. But this is not exactly what happens. The more realistic picture is they live in ghettos, they don’t learn English, they don’t feel part of the country and they don’t have so much respect for it. This is because several facts but I’ll work on their disconnection between their self and the context; they don’t have a meaningful work that links them with NYC.

NYC is a mosaic of nationalities, but my focus is foreign-born people from Central and South America, Caribbean, East Asia, South Asia and Eastern Europe.

The importance of this issue is to avoid some social problems like vandalism, alcoholism, exclusion, and creation of ghettos, among others, to create a more cohesive society.

Walking through some neighborhoods in NYC I have the feeling that tones of those people were trap in their community. They have no real contact with other people and they have a pre establish role in society, they don’t expect to change it or get more integrated. And they will be parents of the next generation of Americans, parent full of frustrations and limitations.

My solution is to enhance the knowledge and skills that immigrants have from their hometown and implement them into the city system.

For example, let’s take a young Mexican from a little villages that has moved to NYC and is currently working in restaurants as cook or dishwashers or cleaners or bar bussers. He used to be a delicate craftsman that used to make amazing baskets; it is a learned skill from his father and older generations. This job made his own identity, which has been lost as soon as he arrived in NYC.

My suggestion is to find out about all these talented people, create a map where they can be found or contacted, and create a synergy of designers and makers.
It would be a network of makers of different craft that creative people could find for their projects.

“Work is, above all, an activity through which an individual fits into the world, creates new relations, uses his talents, learns and grows develops his identity and a sense of belonging.” – Estelle M. Morin

I see how The Netherlands is so well know for their local crafts that have been developed for centuries; NYC has the opportunity to create an international local community of craftsmanship. Celebrating the diversity of cultures will make the city richer.

The project will help immigrants to keep their identity will improve their self-esteem, confidence and will give them a much appreciated role in society. It won’t be a permanent job but it will give them an extra salary and social recognition.

On the other hand, manufactures in this country are often overseas, to Mexico or South America. It decrees the value of the product and it’s generating a negative footprint in the process.


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