Empire County Survival Foundry

Jason Rosen

The world may be unpredictable, but surviving it should be beautiful.


Our iconic global city is being altered by environmental phenomena beyond control. Within this collection find essential products for New Yorkers' emerging needs in the future.

I accrued as much multimedia resources as possible when taking on ECSF. I pulled from literature; for instance the Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I closely reviewed luxury brands as well as technical apparel and gear outfitters to see how they branded themselves and constructed their overall identities. I curated and conducted an online survey in which over one hundred New Yorkers answered specific questions about their experiences, needs, and desires during and after Sandy as well as their own thoughts about the future of coastal neighborhoods in Manhattan. I looked closely at current practitioners working in future planning, and I also studied multiple strategies of approach such as farce, fashion, and product design. I was fortunate to be able to consult with designers and thinkers of practices I am indebted to, such as Marina Zurkow and the Yes Lab, for instance. My inspirational thinkers and creators for this work defy disciplines: Dunne + Raby, Marina Zurkow, Lucy McRae, Natalie Jeremijenko, the Yes Men, Constant of the Situationists, Manuel DeLanda, Walt Whitman, Robert Moses, Jane Jacobs, the team of the Mannahatta Project, to name a few. Also referencing works of science fiction and future planning such as Liam Young and also platforms like District 9's website were helpful. For a more exhaustive bibliography of research sources, please find them at empirecountysurvivalfoundry.com/resources.

New Yorkers and larger audiences with a stake in a changing world. Coastal dwellers. Remediating flora and fauna.

User Scenario
There are two paths of users. One is your embodiment of your future self, the avatar. As you order your essential needs and goods before the storm season sets in. You subsist off the land but you also don't let the encroaching waves on your stoop change your lifestyle. The user now is observing this casual acceptance of two converging orders with humour and self awareness.

Housed in an online shop are objects I designed and made to bring to life a sense of consideration around the world we live in and how we might live in the near future that is constantly evolving. An immersive environment to meditate on this future scenario is also represented, both graphically in a look book as well as in a digital environment. Developing and actualizing artifacts framed as relics of an impending near future, these pieces are designed to instantiate deeper consciousness for the fleeting power that a storm can impress during and after it's arrival.

I learned that there are a variety of paths to leaving an audience with your intention. That the functions of critical design are not so much to offer design solutions but more so to problematize accepted norms with interventions. I learned many new modes of communication and technology, such as 3D modeling, game world building, woodworking, sewing and patternmaking as well as further developed my knowledge of identity and graphic design, storytelling and content strategy as well as performative practices. Crafting content and media around an intention can form compelling paradigmatic shifts in the way one perceives their own situation.