Public Kitchen

As public infrastructures--hospitals, water, schools, transportation, etc--are privatized, the Public Kitchen takes a stab at going in the reverse direction. It is an installation designed to help us realize that the ways in which public infrastructures can improve the quality of our lives is still a work in progress.  We still have room to imagine the futures we want to create! Doing this takes experimentation and creativity. To spark that, the Public Kitchen is a “productive fiction,” and as such it’s our experimentation with a new, more vibrant social infrastructure that:

  • Challenges the public’s own feelings that “public” means poor, broken down, poorly run, and “less than” private
  • Engages communities in claiming public space, the social and food justice
  • Makes a new case for public infrastructures through creating ones that don’t exist

All photos copyright Travis Watson

Inspired by the family kitchen as a gathering place, the  Public Kitchen, organized by Design Studio for Social Intervention and partners, invited Upham's Corner and Dudley Street residents to feast, learn, share, imagine, unite and claim public space. Over 500 community members joined us as the Public Kitchen launched a week of fresh food, cooking classes & competitions, a mobile kitchen and Hub, food-inspired art and much more…

Public Kitchen was an intervention aimed at social and food justice-- an experiment in how more vibrant public infrastructures can improve the quality of our lives. Our art and design team included Chef Nadine Nelson of Global Local Gourmet and the Golden Arrows design collective.  Many thanks to our community partners : Upham's Corner Main Street, The Food Project, Shirley Eustis House, Haley House, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative  and City Growers. And to our funders: The Praxis Project's Communities Creating Healthy Environments initiative, ArtPlace and The Boston Foundation. 

Our first prototype of the Public Kitchen happened in 2011 at the Design Studio. We welcomed over 100 community members and passers by during Roxbury Open Studios. Here is a video from that event: