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Interboro is an architecture, urban design, and planning firm working across scales, from buildings to communities. They are known for a participatory, place-specific approach that helps build consensus around complex projects.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, the firm builds on the unique qualities of each space to program, design, and build open environments that are inviting to everyone. Their portfolio includes architecture, planning, and urban design, but has also crossed over into communication design, legislative reform, and branding.

Interboro first came to prominence with their project for the LA Forum for Architecture’s “Dead Malls” competition. Their project, “In The Meantime: Life with Landbanking,” envisioned a future for the closed Duchess County Mall in Fishkill, New York. Interboro identified the principal problem with the mall, “land banking”. In other words, a situation where a developer allows a property to sit unoccupied and closed in hopes that to sell the land at an increased value. Through research, Interboro discovered that while the mall was officially closed, it held an informal hub of organic activities and micro businesses. Truck drivers would pull over in the mall’s parking lot to rest, so a hot dog truck owner set up a business. A flea market entrepreneur used the space for a weekend market. Various clubs and organizations used the parking lot as a meeting point. To protect the impromptu community, Interboro proposed cheap, flexible moves that promoted the activities which were already ongoing.

Recently, Interboro developed the Anne O’C. Albrecht Nature Playscape. The firm led a team of landscape architects, builders, artists, educators, growers, and civic activists in the design of a new natural playscape in St. Louis’ Forest Park. This project transformed what had been 17 acres of turf into a restored natural environment with nine unique activity areas connected by a network of trails and paths. 

Another recent project involved a comprehensive analysis and assessment of 63 vacant school properties located across Detroit. The objective of this ambitious project was to complete a holistic, comparative study of 63 vacant school properties (VSPs) in Detroit—including 39 owned by the City of Detroit (City) and 24 owned by the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD)—and to make recommendations regarding their redevelopment potential. 

We had an opportunity to have an extended conversation with Daniel D’Oca of Interboro on our podcast, Social Design Insights. Listen to the episodes below.

24 | Tools for Urban Action, Part 1
25 | Tools for Urban Action, Part 2


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "Wonderful" by Aretha Franklin from her album "So Damn Happy."