By Anja Laubscher
Shifra Goldenberg is a senior policy analyst on the project management team at the Mayor’s Office of Operations. Goldenberg uses human-centered design principles and tools to make sure the team is doing their best to understand the real needs of City employees and residents, and to build solutions that are aligned with those needs. Since joining Ops in June 2017, she’s worked on a variety of projects covering topics of homelessness, gender equity, education and data use policy.
We spoke to Goldenberg about design in New York City and her vision for the future of design in the City.
Anja Laubscher: What is your favorite public space in New York City and why?
Shifra Goldenberg: I’ll always have a soft spot for Penn Station. When I was in high school I commuted through Penn Station, and it felt like a magical portal to the City. Navigating the crowd successfully made me feel like a “real” New Yorker. Every time I’m back there now, I still feel the excitement of getting to know the City for the first time.
The Brooklyn Public Library is my favorite example of a civic institution reflecting human-centered design principles. The Library has really worked to understand what services residents need and provide these services through their accessible community institution.
AL: Give us an example of how design has improved the quality of life in New York City?
SG: The Brooklyn Public Library is my favorite example of a civic institution reflecting human-centered design principles. The Library has really worked to understand what services residents need and provide these services through their accessible community institution. The Library hasn’t been afraid to re-design the physical space of libraries to keep up with the services that are most in demand and has pushed us to realize that a “library” is much more than a room lined with books.
AL: As a designer, what would you like to see in New York City in 2030 and why?
SG: Design can play a huge role in improving the way individuals interact with City government—especially online. In the next decade, I would like to see the City think about the tools, spaces, or experiences we can provide to ensure that City agencies and services are accessible to all New Yorkers.