NYC is always in a state of flux. Residents have a hard time keeping up with change, and having their voices heard. Often they don’t have the tools, access, or aren’t even invited to envision how they want their neighborhood to feel, look like, or what services the neighborhood needs.
Block Builder is an act of participatory futuring. Attendees are asked to build their block; either their current block, their dream block, or whatever block they want. We will give residents the tools – stamps, stickers, pens, etc – to create and share their visions. We will then record and archive their work, and ask them to share it on their social media, with their community, and with people they hold dear.
We will take the Block Builder toolkit to multiple sites around the Long Island City, Queens neighborhoods to gather neighbor’s views. We can setup in parks (such as Gantry Park), the Queens Library, and outside major subway stations (E/M, G, 7) as the setup footprint is small. Part of the artwork is negotiating and working with different civic assets to help neighbors tell their hopes, dreams, and future vision.
We will then synthesize patterns from these engagements looking to see what our neighbors want in their community, sharing themes, patterns, and learnings. Our hunch is that there is considerable overlap in what we all want, but considerable disagreement. I aim to uncover what and where we agree, and where we stand apart.
To better understand a broad set of sentiments about what people desire on their block. We have lots of hunches, but we want to test them.
Here's a short overview of how this project is evolving.
A selection from my inspiration folder (apologies to the original photographers).
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Check out these other civic engagement projects we created.
Hi. Expedition Works is a design consultancy (and a small-business!), where we design new services and businesses, new environments, new ways to engage with residents, and we conduct independent research.
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Expedition Works, LLC; New York.