Concept and design by Heba Elmasry

Manhattan’s diverse history offers an interesting context to explore our attitudes regarding the environment. For my project, I decided to focus in particular on how the land physically changed and expanded -- the what, how and why of the city's landfill in lower Manhattan. The ‘What’s Below Your Toes?’ app is a scavenger hunt game designed for middle-school age children to explore their city and learn how much it has changed over the last few centuries. Players are led with questions and clues to a specific intersection. The site is marked with a stenciled symbol which both reveals the answer, and provides a QR code directing players to more information regarding the site. By exploring literally what’s below their toes, students can not only discover the history that is hidden beneath the ground, but also learn how their actions can positively or negatively affect their environment. From topics ranging from the illegal dumping of garbage to creative reuse of materials, students are given the chance to look at their environment from a new perspective, while physically connecting to their city.