project leader
Taylor K
Cortelyou Rd
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Re-Thinking Waste Workshop at the Flatbush Frolic!

the project

Building Blocks brings neighbors’ visions for Flatbush come to life through creative problem solving! This year’s focus: waste management.

Building Blocks is the debut project of Design for Agency, a budding community-focused design practice founded by Flatbush resident, Taylor Kuhn. The project asks Flatbush neighbors, organizations and government to share their concerns about the area, and explores them through a series of pop-up and group “creative problem solving workshops”.

These workshops are designed to empower neighbors to use creative tools to develop ideas that can either be enacted in reality, or proposed to local government and organizations to make their voices heard in an impactful way. The issue we are building ideas for this round is waste management.

We’ve partnered with the folks of Community Board 14 to connect participants’ efforts directly to civic decision-making. Members of the board will give feedback on in-progress projects and presentations in mid October. The wider public, including local organizations and community leaders will offer feedback as well.

Visit (Click on Building Blocks In Progress for the project blog) to learn more!

the steps

What We’ve Done So Far / Feb. 1 – Jun. 31:

Design for Agency conducted research across Flatbush, using surveys and a voting table, asking neighbors to share what they felt most needed improvement and what is currently working in the area. This research revealed the top three concerns are:

1. Housing Affordability

2. Waste Management

3. Lifting NYers out of poverty

Because this is a new project, we will focus on the most tangible issue waste management using the other issues as key guiding considerations.

The top aspects of the community that are working (and that we will use as inspiration) are:

1. Diversity

2. Trust Between Neighbors

3. Local Business Development

Next Steps to be Supported by Campaign / July 29 – October 30th:

Building Blocks will host three sessions of pop-up workshops throughout Flatbush, to explore what we’ve learned.

  • Pop-up Workshop Sessions 1: Understanding the problem / Jul. 29 – Aug. 19:

    • Breaking down the problem into smaller pieces  

    • Social media & email photo / video scavenger hunt to observe the current problem in the context of Flatbush.

  • Pop-up Workshop Sessions 2: Identifying community resources / Aug. 20 – Aug. 31:

    • Considering each broken down piece of larger problem from previous workshop session, neighbors will identify possible community resources to address issues.

    • Social media & email photo / video scavenger hunt to observe possible resources.

  • Pop-up Workshop Sessions 3: Bringing it all together / Sept. 1 – Sept. 13

    • Participants will play a game, applying the positive resources to the problems, developing mini proposals for projects to be implemented in the neighborhood to be voted on in a public exhibition.

  • Exhibition / Sep. 17 – Oct 6:

    • Design for Agency will bring the mini proposals together that developed from the game in session 3 in a public exhibition on Sunday, Sep. 17 at Flatbush Frolic, hosted by the Flatbush Development Corporation.

    • 3 week public exhibition of mini proposals to be voted on. Top voted proposals will be implemented throughout October.

  • Implementation (Group Sessions) / Oct. 9 – Oct 28

    • Participants will collaborate to actualize proposals, learning to engage with organizations, government and fellow neighbors, using found or donated recycled materials.

  • Report / Delivery in November

    • Publishing the project, including all phases and learnings, to share success / stress points and stories of connections made and skills developed.

Your donations will support each step of this process.

why we're doing it

This project is inspired largely by the belief that when the community is more engaged in civic activities, their needs and concerns are more prioritized by local government, acting as an incentive for neighbors to invest their time and effort into making the community a vibrant and healthy place to live. 

Additionally, while government is mandated to provide and manage essential resources, they can only do so much. It’s up to residents to work together to ensure their neighborhoods become a home, and a place we can use our relationships as a source of resilience.

Building Blocks hopes to jump start this trend by bringing in collaboration and creative tools to inspire neighbors to engage deeper within their communities. Join us!


Disbursed Budget

Raised = $1,605.00
less ioby Platform Fee $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $72.69
less Payment Processing Fee (3%) $43.61
Total to Disburse = $1,453.70
Project Lead $840.70
Project Support 1 $155.00
Printing - Workshops $120.00
Printing - Outreach $150.00
Printing - Public Exhibition $98.00
Workshops $90.00

Original Budget

Pop-up workshops over 14 weeks (printing-$120.00, art materials: markers, pens, clay, paper, paint-$70.00 refreshments-$225.00) - $416.00

Public Exhibition Materials (printing-$150.00, outreach-$150.00, wood-$64.00, refreshments-$40.00) $404.00

Group Implementation Workshops & Prototype Materials for individual teams (materials as needed-$250.00, printing-$30.00) $280.00

Labor & Workshop Facilitation (3 teammates) $1,650.00

Recap Report (design and printing of PDF report) $250.00

Subtotal = 3,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $150
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $90
Total to raise = $3,275



Re-Thinking Waste Workshop at the Flatbush Frolic!

WOW! What an amazing turnout at our Re-Thinking Waste Workshop at the Flatbush Frolic on Sunday, September 17th. We've been busy preparing for this big event that ALL OF OUR pop up workshops have helped us get to.

Our first series of pop-ups asked neighbors what specific problems they are concerned about in Flatbush under the three themes: Litter, Tree Pits and Recycling / Food Waste.

Our second round of pop-up workshops asked neighbors to identify and list all of the resources they could think of within our neighborhood that can be re-combined in creative ways to address these specific problems.

Our Re-Thinking Waste workshop brought all of this work done by neighbors together, by asking neighbros to fill out a worksheet that helped them design their own proposal to address issues like excess plastic, dog poop on the sidewalk, people throwing garbage into tree pits, and education about composting. Check out some highlights. We'll be posting ALL 22 PROPOSALS on our website so neighrbors can see what other's have contributed.

That's not all! We are going to actually BRING THESE IDEAS TO LIFE in hands-on collaborative workshops in October. Stay tuned on exact dates.




"Observing the Problem" Pop-up Workshops and Scavenger hunt!

Building Blocks is making progress little by little with pop-up workshops and a neighborhood-wide "observing the problem" scavenger hunt! 

Here are some of the pictures showcasing the pop-up, and seeing what neighbor's have shared so far! Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with our pop-up locations / dates / times.





This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Kiki
  • Todd Gailun/Sara Anderson
  • Uncle Buck
  • C Ancalmo
  • Anonymous
  • Jack
  • Maggie
  • Heidi Woo
  • Mark K
  • Mark Himmelstein & Elena Rivera
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Nick K
  • Anonymous
  • Matthew Revere
  • Diane Bezucha
  • Anonymous
  • Anne Kuhn
  • Kiersten Nash
  • Maggie
  • kirstin roquemore
  • Don & Ginger
  • Dana S.
  • Chris LiButti
  • Sean & Sarah
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Jack
  • Anonymous