C is for Candy Chang: Making Cities More Emotional

Candy is an artist who is passionate about exploring how our public spaces can help us make sense of our lives.

In the video above she talks about a project called ‘Before I die I want to …’ Here is some background about Candy from the biography on her website.


Candy was once a designer at The New York Times and the co-founder of a record label, she went on to collaborate with community groups to make citizens’ rights and resources more accessible.

Projects included the award-winning Street Vendor Guide in New York City, as well as projects on criminal justice, tenants’ rights, and drug rehabilitation. 


After working with community groups in Nairobi, New Orleans, Johannesburg, Vancouver, and New York, she learned the value of doing what you can with what you have.

She created interactive public art projects to share housing information, share more resources, and share memories and hopes for an abandoned building.

She created I Wish This Was to gather residents’ ideas for vacant storefronts – an idea that further developed into Neighborland, a tool to help people share and build on ideas for the places they care about. 

After losing someone she loved, she created Before I Die on an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans. 


The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever,” and thanks to passionate people around the world, over 200 Before I Die walls have now been created in over 15 languages and in over 40 countries, including Kazakhstan, Argentina, China, Italy, Israel, Thailand, and South Africa.

Her interest in public spaces has likewise shifted towards ways they can become contemplative sanctuaries to help improve our personal well-being.

Here is another project that involves people thinking about certain life themes.

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