Idea File: Sticky solutions for a better community



It’s been more than five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. While the city is still grappling with rebuilding efforts, its residents have proven nothing less than resilient. From floating homes to affordable health care for local musicians, NOLA has seen a recent resurgence of innovation and community.

With so much potential, the city has become a breeding ground for new ideas.I Wish This Was” is an art initiative that collects citizen’s thoughts for re-imagining the space around them. The project is the brainchild of Candy Chang — co-founder of the design studio Civic Center — and was born because her neighborhood still lacks a full-service grocery store.

The concept is simple: free stickers are distributed throughout the city in cafes, bookstores, hair salons and more. You pick one up, and pen your wish, dream or hope. Afterward you stick it on an abandoned building or any other public space that could use some wishful thinking. Wishes so far range from the practical (butcher, bike rack) to the abstract (owned by somebody who cared, heaven) to the cheeky (big old cupcake, Brad Pitt’s house).


  • Awareness. The stickers publicly merge your innermost desires with the city’s pressing needs.
  • Inspirational. The hope is that the creative, collective consciousness will spark actual transformation.
  • Easy. It’s super simple to do. And democratic distribution so that anyone, regardless of class, race, age, etc., can participate.
  • Ecologically friendly. The stickers are made of vinyl, not paper, so they don’t damage storefronts.
  • Accessible. If you’re not currently based in NOLA but want to follow along, Chang is working on a digitized version of the ideas.


  • Free, but not for long. Vinyl stickers are more expensive. Unfortunately, the free supply has run out, so you’ll have to throw down some dollars to make a wish.
  • Art or trash? Some may view the stickers as added blight.
  • Good intentions…but will stickers lead to action?

Plenty of cities, towns and villages have abandoned spaces and could implement a project like this one. Could this benefit your community?

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Comments (5)

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Idealist, Scott Ankeny , juliacsmith, USHR Network, aimeeorleans and others. aimeeorleans said: RT @idealist: In NOLA, @CandyChang's "I Wish This Was" project helps residents dream of better community spaces. #C … […]

  2. Eboni F. writes:
    February 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I WISH THIS WAS MAJOR NEWS! For me this project is more pro than con. If nothing else, it keeps the conversation going about an issue that is still as prevalent and in need as it was five years ago. NOLA is not just a travel destination; it is a part of our great country. A country that chooses to forget when it is convenient. I hope this project touches the right hearts, wallets and people so more change can happen in EVERY section of this often forgotten area.

  3. Celeste Hamilton Dennis writes:
    February 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Eboni! We highlight projects like this so more people can learn about them, and possibly replicate them in their own communities. Start spreading the news!

  4. athousandfibers writes:
    February 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Nice heads-up about a great project. Simple, cheap and self-adhesive; as all good urban-renewal projects are :) Hope you dont mind but I’ve re-blogged it on my site.

  5. Celeste Hamilton Dennis writes:
    February 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for the comment, athousandfibers! I think it’s great you’ve re-blogged it – thanks for helping to spread good ideas.

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