top of page



Gandong Cai, Mingjie Cai May 2020

International Competition

Award: Top Winner (top 2 winners from 440 proposals)





Is it a right for everyone to access public space, even in the new normal period?



Can we redefine the public space, and suggest a new public behavioral mode?



Can New York’s big problem be solved by small intervention?


Overall Statement


This project fabricates a fictional context of the near future when New York’s public space is reopened and a citywide policy of Social Plug-in Plan is implemented. It delineates a radical yet possible scenario of tomorrow, in which personal freedom to access public space and responsibility to keep safe distance are compromised under a hypothesized new normal.


Design Concepts


September 1st  2020, New York. No one ever imagined that the Big Apple--the center of the world--has become the center of the pandemic. Half-year after the outbreak, the city government announced a new policy today: the Social Plug-in Plan (SPI Plan). The plan includes three parts: the SPI device, tool kits, and map.


SPI Device: The re-opening of the public space does not mean the relief of social distancing. This portable small device with new AR technology can project a Social Territory--the safe activity space--on ground when you are enjoying public life. The radius of the space is determined by the number of people in your group in order to make sure you are safe and have enough space for activities.


 SPI Tool Kits: While public spaces are conditionally opened, many public activities are still unavailable such like go to watch a movie, attend a concert or visit a popular city landmark. The SPI Tool Kits is a set of items to enhance the experience during the time spending in the park. It can be an easy-install temporary cinema in the Bryant Park, or a floating pad at the shore of the Governors Island for looking at the Statue of Liberty. It gives freedom to every New Yorker to rebuild their ideal public life under the new normal.


SPI Map: Before bringing the SPI device and tool kits to a specific park, people need to sign up a slot in an APP called the SPI Map. Slots are released every day to all neighborhoods in the city according to the population and distance to nearby public space. All information of available parks, times, and conditions are shown on the map so people can decide time and location to go out for public life.


The Survivor Day: We propose Mar 14th  to be the Survivor Day----- the date New York officially reported its first death due to Covid-19. The establishment of this day is not only in purpose to memorize those who left us, but also because all of us who survived from the pandemic war are HERO fighting with the virus by healing others, or sharing information, or just staying at home to reduce the risk of infection. We deserve a date to get together--of course with SPI device----- in Central Park, and light up the whole space and make it the biggest memorial in the city.

bottom of page