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Boss Lady with Naomi Hersson-Ringskog

Community planner, Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, takes concepts into unified movements.

naomi hersson ringskog, dept of small interventions

As founder of Newburgh's Dept. of Small interventions,, community planner, Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, develops inspired concepts into unified movements. You might say the expectant mom is now creating a different kind of project, from inception to birth.

HVP: What was the inspiration in establishing the Dept. of Small Interventions in Newburgh in 2016? 

Naomi: I gave a lecture to some Columbia University graduate students about community engagement and they were studying Newburgh. I visited Dia: Beacon and Newburgh. I was intrigued about the architecture and diversity. Newburgh in some ways is a very post-industrial city. It's a microcosm of New York City. As a community planner, it is the perfect-sized city.


HVP: Your forte is bringing community partners together to advance an ideal. Where does that fit with your work in Newburgh?

Naomi: I started doing some work in New York City, but here, what I found to be so magical was there is so much history, and I wanted to immerse myself in it. The Dept. of Small Interventions is a vehicle for exploring and sharing that interest and doing something together.


HVP: How have your projects, like Welcome to Newburgh Sign's enhanced signage campaign and Reimagine Lake Street Corridor's improvement initiative, come together?

Naomi: Those types of collaborations are rooted in history. We have amazing cultural assets. Collaborations with city historians, libraries, regional councils-it's taking the same cultural assets that we have, and together amplifying them through diverse platforms.


HVP: You've said the name, the Dept. of Small Interventions, gives the organization latitude to touch on different elements. Can you explain?

Naomi: Small is beautiful. Incremental progress is important. There's an increasing capacity where government and community come together, like a public ombudsman; a coordinated response with the city. It's very project-based approach.


HVP: How will being a new mom affect your work?

Naomi: It will give me a new perspective on the city. It has already manifested in the sense of real interest of how we can implement sidewalk improvements. There's a natural coalescence of young mothers joining together for social and supportive groups. That might evolve into something else - others against violence. I'm going to embrace that. I've been inspired by other mothers.

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