Last Friday I was a guest judge at a d.school program on the future of cities. I was responding to student teams’ proposals for ‘Tactical Urbanism’ projects in San Francisco, to make the city a better place to live and connect.
One idea that was exciting was a student project about putting Social Service Kiosks in places where homeless people congregate — like UN Plaza near SF’s Civic Center. The students meant these to be places where people without reliable Internet could find contacts for medical, food, housing, and other social services. This resonated with me, and an insight that keeps coming up — we need to create “more legal touchpoints” that help people realize they have legal options and connect with resources to act on them.
I pushed them to think about how to make this info more actionable — could you provide more human support along with the kiosk information? One idea I had that blossomed out of their thoughts, was the idea of a park of social service trucks, like the pop-up food truck parks that happen at certain times of the day and month, and that attract lots of people to browse the options and engage with the trucks.
Could we coordinate outreach with legal, medical, mental health, education, and housing service providers — and get in-person services, mixed with referrals and handoffs to longer term services? Could it happen in city center plazas and other areas where people already are?
Here are some photos of the student’s kiosk idea: