I initiated the project See Before You Do in 2017 with two of my partners, DEFU KONG and JIAYING SHI. The sole purpose was to amplify the voice of those who were affected by gentrification. We believe designers and educators have great power on how much they can make an impact for them. We also think there is a significant lack of emphasis on cultural collisions when designing for gentrifying communities. We decided to raise the bar on how to conduct research when designers approach a project in these neighborhoods. We rode our way through the neighborhood with our bikes to see for ourselves, listened to people's voices, and heard what they think about their neighborhood changes. We believe we need more than just statistics because culture is not something you could quantify.

We interviewed a broad spectrum of people, including neighborhood leaders, pedestrians, government officials, world-renowned artists living in the neighborhood for decades, scholars, and even children. We took our bikes and rode through the streets, went into the housing projects, tracked down the local officials. We have gathered an archive of amazing stories and data. We recorded all of the interviews and made them into a two-part documentary. Though as designers, we may not be able to stop the momentum of city development but can better preserve the neighborhood dynamic and culture to avoid being replaced. Special thanks to our professor and dear friend FAIA Architect Jack Travis. With his help, the project has now been used as an example of how to conduct field research when designing for gentrifying communities in four design schools in New York City.