10 April 2018 | 4 minutes.

Interview with Scott Francisco, founder of Pilot Projects

Scott Francisco
Founder, Pilot Projects Design Collective. Co-Founder, Cities4Forests

Scott Francisco, Founder, Pilot Projects Design Collective. Co-Founder, Cities4Forests

What does ‘Pilot-Projects’ actually do?

We co-create a better world. We help our partners (governments, corporations and non-profits like conservation organizations and neighborhood associations) solve complex systems problems that involve culture, markets, policy and physical infrastructure. We believe culture is a powerful, significant force that must be paired with the design of physical infrastructure to produce meaningful outcomes. This is the basis of all our projects and services which include strategic facilitation, consulting and infrastructure design.

A “pilot project” is something that gets “made”, carefully and relatively quickly, in order to unlock much bigger systemic problems. This allows us to test an idea, understand a system, before applying solutions on a larger scale. We are designers who work on “wicked problems” – challenges that usually fall outside the mandate of conventional design, like de/reforestation, drinking water, the productivity of organizations and people in their workplace, even new forms of education.

Why is the Brooklyn Bridge project so symbolic?

Brooklyn Bridge Forest links a global city (New York City) and a global forest (Maya Biosphere Reserve), using local and global systems (culture and infrastructure) to unlock new thinking about the relationships between them. The project proposes that the historic wood planks to be replaced on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge Promenade come from a new source: a specific tropical forest that is managed and conserved by a community who supply the wood to New York City. Our aim is to connect this forest community with NYC in a balanced relationship in terms of cultural impacts, financial benefits, ecological impacts and awareness. The project is intended to be visible globally and to excite urban citizens and forest-dependent communities around the world about the possibilities of working together. We are focused on engaging youth, both in cities and forests, and helping them imagine a new global culture that supports urban and rural livelihoods with the conservation of the natural environment at its heart.

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