Reboot Stories Lab & Learn Do Share – NYC

On June 12 and 13, 2014, I was part of a two-day intensive Reboot Stories Lab on DIY Urbanism, in which 40+ participants explored together through collaborative action, design thinking, storytelling, play and technology. Our focus was “The Village of Arts and Humanities” an arts-focused community organization whose mission is to support the voices and aspirations of the community through opportunities for self-expression rooted in art and culture. This local community in Philadelphia embraces D.I.Y. culture to change their neighborhood and use these tools for civic engagement and social good.

We broke up into groups and workshopped ideas how to revitalize a low-income neighborhood, that could be implemented in “The Village.” Quickly we had to imagine, using off-line, low-tech approaches (including The Wheel of Reasoning and the Hoshin Strategy Outline all components of a toolkit offered by the FreedomLab based in Amsterdam) to help define crises/threats/opportunities and solutions in low-income neighborhoods.

It was a interesting experience to work in this manner without direct research of “The Village” or the neighborhood. We relied on first-hand accounts from Aviva Kapust and El Sawyer, staff of the “The Village” Aviva and El spoke to the group about the cultural history, economic challenges, and social successes of the neighborhood, providing a snapshot of life there. They also participated in the small group exercises, not only as contributors to their projects but as resources for the full group to tap into.

In our separate groups we defined a specific crisis and then proposed solutions, opportunities, and potential resources. We later presented our ideas and then came together collaboratively to map out our ideas together on one really long sheet of paper. It was quite interesting to see in the end all our ideas mapped out and connected in our re-imagined community.

This intensive program marks the beginning of Learn Do Share (Learn by doing, understand by sharing) which took place at The New School, in Manhattan on June 14, 2015. Learn Do Share is a social innovation hub which happens internationally free to participants and run by volunteers. This year the focus of our Reboot Stories Lab and Learn Do Share is DIY Urbanism.


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