Starr Whitehouse wishes health and safety to all our neighbors in New York City, Atlanta, and the world. Our staff is working remotely in accordance with CDC guidelines to provide uninterrupted service to our clients and continue crafting open spaces that offer social connectedness, physical health, and mental well-being to our urban communities.

Marsha P Johnson State Park Community Engagement & Schematic Design

Brooklyn, NY

In 2020, Governor Cuomo rededicated East River State Park to the memory of Marsha P Johnson, an LGBTQ+ rights activist, self-identified drag queen, and forebear of the transgender rights movement. Starr Whitehouse led a rapid engagement process to identify an approach for commemorating Marsha’s legacy while incorporating a diversity of community desires into the... Continue Reading

In 2020, Governor Cuomo rededicated East River State Park to the memory of Marsha P Johnson, an LGBTQ+ rights activist, self-identified drag queen, and forebear of the transgender rights movement. Starr Whitehouse led a rapid engagement process to identify an approach for commemorating Marsha’s legacy while incorporating a diversity of community desires into the park landscape. Through iterative conversations with neighborhood groups, Marsha’s family, State Parks staff, everyday users, representatives of the Smorgasburg open-air food market, and transgender leaders of color, Starr Whitehouse developed a schematic design guided by the local community’s drive to reclaim this former industrial site as a flexible, unstructured green space—while honoring the struggle of transgender people of color for safety and recognition. The schematic design creates an inclusive space embodying these diverse aspirations, enhancing the park’s openness, improving connections to the river, and encouraging a broad range of activity. Commemoration is conceived as a journey through this flexible space, starting from an entry gate that welcomes people of all backgrounds to Marsha’s park. Panels display a narrative collaboratively written by a team of transgender leaders of color, telling Marsha’s story and conveying important concepts about transgender identity. Flowering trees, perennials, and wetland gardens commemorate Marsha’s love for flowers, concluding with a mosaic overlook that prompts reflection on Marsha’s life and the lives of other transgender women who were murdered