we've been doing research and hosting workshops to guide neighbors through a collaborative design process.


We spent a Saturday in September asking neighbors to share their feedback on our tree pit design renderings. We made posters with English, Spanish and Creole translations that feature detailed drawings of our preliminary ideas that have been developed since March. The purpose of this phase is to encourage passerby to provide input into our participatory design process, to be inclusive and transparent about our goals for the project.

Visit the garden to participate, or fill out the digital version here:


Gathering community

Sept 8th – Sept 29th, 2018

Be the change workshop with Q Gardens - Concept Refinement

July 18th, 2018

In this refinement workshop, we discussed the ideas developed so far and refined them into specific ideas. We made sure that each feature responded to specified criteria defined in previous workshops, and that each feature compliments or build upon the others. Each design includes 4-5 features.

Be the change workshop with Q Gardens - Concept development

May 12, 2018

This workshop explored how each group could take their research from the last workshop about their respective waste problem and transform it into opportunities for design.

That means, we re-visited the main problems, developed initial ideas to address them, and then using inspiration from other successful ideas like playground design, community art and education, participants applied that inspiration to their problem to develop numerous ideas. We ended the workshop by sketching ideas with marker, clay and acting.

Our next workshop will explore more concrete parameters we should be aware of when designing, like what does the wider community think of bringing in benches, how might they want to be involved, and of course, how do we build each project.

In January, we partnered up with a wonderful local community garden, Q Gardens to focus our design project on. Within the theme of addressing waste issues with the community, they identified the problem of unprotected trees just outside of their garden. This lack of protection damages the trees, collects trash, and perpetuates the cycle of lack of care and ownership of our neighborhood.

In this workshop, we divided ourselves into three themed groups - one per tree, and ended by defining a focus to ground their project in. Those themes and focuses are 1) Too Much Waste / Visual Vibrance and Education 2) Tree Ecology / Tree Ecology Education and 3) Social Stratification / Social Inclusion.

launch of Workshops in partnership with Q Gardens

March 3, 2018

BE the change workshop #1 - Imagining flatbush in 50 years

Nov. 1, 2017

In this workshop, we zoomed ahead 50 years to the year 2067, 20 years after NYC's 0 waste by 2030 goal. We made it! But, what does it look like? Check out some snaps of the workshop where attendees came up with ideas like all compostable to-go containers, and a world where neighbors run cities:

The best is yet to come. The next phase is to get neighbors who have participated since February into hands-on workshops to bring to life the proposals developed on September 17th at the Flatbush Frolic. Check out the proposals below, and add your thoughts / responses in the comments!

Sept - November 2017

Oct. 15th, 2017


June - Sept 2017

Oct. 1st, 2017

'Waste Management' emerged as the second most voted concern in Flatbush, after 'Housing Affordability' and before 'Lifting NYers out of Poverty'. We decided to begin by exploring waste issues in Flatbush, since it's a somewhat more tangible problem that we might be able to make progress within. The gallery below showcases snaps from different pop-up workshops which asked neighbors to share their specific concerns around waste, to better understand the specific issues.

Before we could get started to see what design can do in communities, we first conducted research asking neighbors all across Flatbush what civic issues they care most about.

"What Civic topic concerns
you the most?"
Feb. - June 2017

July 3rd, 2017