Creating a digital presence for a New York City borough—Queens, NY.

QNS MADE is a digital platform that fosters community-building initiatives, made for and by Queens, NY locals.

Design opportunity: QNS MADE emerged out of SVA's Entrepreneurial Design class for the now infamous $1,000 project. The successful Kickstarter campaign ran for 15 days with 151 backers and raised over $8,700. 

Perspective: Questions that really steered what was to become QNS MADE: 

  1. What do I want to see in my community? Stemming from what I didn't see in my hometown of Queens, NY.
  2. How can I bring a unique perspective and voice to the project?
  3. What will sustain me? What will fulfill me beyond a school assignment?
  4. How can I give back with the design tools and education I've acquired?

Mission: I knew I wanted to give back to my hometown of Queens, NY. The best way I knew how was to define what the borough means to me first, in order for my peers and the locals to follow suit. The ultimate goal being, to produce content, resources, and a digital archive of the times we are living.

To keep what is local—here to stay by highlight small businesses and speaking to artists who call Queens their home. Much like the respect and notoriety that Brooklyn or Manhattan has garnered, QNS MADE was a step in doing that in our own way. 

Brainstorming & prototyping: What transpired next was experimenting with different ways to define a borough: 

  • Interviewing up-and-coming artists,
  • photographing locals in 125+ neighborhoods,
  • creating a clothing line in order to find all the Queens makers and manufacturers who still make things locally
  • as well as to understand what goes into starting a small business,
  • hosting local events that addressed community issues like gentrification,
  • creating programming for the local youth
  • and participating in local events and meeting with heads of Queens institutions and organizations in order to learn the lay of the land
Speaking to Sinovision's English channel (Chinese tv) about why I created QNS MADE and what I see for its future

Speaking to Sinovision's English channel (Chinese tv) about why I created QNS MADE and what I see for its future

"I saw a tension between the old and new folks coming and going in the neighborhood and I knew I wanted a say in what happens here, in the place I've call home for 29 years... I knew a lot of people felt the same way, but they didn't see an outlet where they could tell their stories. QNS MADE was my answer."

"...not letting others set the tone for our borough and the 125+ unique neighborhoods because if we don't rally for our people then outsiders will come in and do it for us. The place so many people call home will be ripped from under us. Rather than get angry and pessimistic about our prospects, we can shine a light on what is here and retain what we value."

QNS MADE was featured on WWDC's keynote presentation at the launch of Apple News (June 2015). 

The director of Apple News and the iBookstore had this to say: "I stumbled across QNS MADE while searching for best hyper-local news sources. I was immediately struck by how local —and cosmopolitan—the site’s scope is."

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QNSMADE launch party with live performances and local food vendors at Queens Council on the Arts in Astoria, Queens.

QNSMADE launch party with live performances and local food vendors at Queens Council on the Arts in Astoria, Queens.