Amplify Brooklyn Leverages Social Innovation for Change

At Shareable, we’re pleased to announce the kickoff of Amplify Brooklyn, an innovative series of events and exhibitions around sustainable social innovation that will culminate in the launch of SHARE NY, being put on by The DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design.

We believe that both SHARE NY and Amplify are aligned in efforts to find new ways to find community based solutions to common challenges. For SHARE NY, that takes the form of being reflective about where the current economy has lead us, and coming together to envision and learn how to create a better, more connected and shareable urban existence in a new economy. For Amplify, it’s about engaging communities in the process of identifying how they can use the assets they already have to create meaningful change.

For the past year, graduate students and faculty at Parsons have been working in North Brooklyn to interview local civic leaders to uncover these types of activities.

What makes Amplify unique is the design process students and faculty go through with community members in order to identify the resources and needs of the community. This process is a stark departure of the design “for” instead of “with” methods of the past, and instead relies on the reality that communities already know what they want and need, often they can just use help identifying the resources and having space and a process to collaborate.

For this specific project, the challenges identified over the last year have centered on Food, Sharing, Transportation, and The Environment. (Click the links to watch video of community members talking about these issues). A great video emerged interviewing SHARE NY panelist Caroline Woolard and Cameron Tonkinwise about the power of sharing in community.

Over the next week and a half, community members, students, designers, and the general public are being invited into St. Nick’s Alliance to see and experience a living, breathing community lab through workshops, exhibitions, and community design forums. The results of this research will be shown in the exhibition, highlighting local challenges and the response of the North Brooklyn community.

"This project evolves from the basic principle that sustainable social innovations are present in hidden, less evident forms in cities around the world through the efforts of individuals or small, self-organized groups that seek to improve their lives and environments through collaboration," said Eduardo Staszowski, director of the Parsons DESIS Lab.

"The exhibition is designed as an open studio for workshops with community residents, designers and academics," said Lara Penin, an assistant professor at Parsons and principal investigator of the project. "Workshop participants will be informed by the work displayed throughout the gallery space and at the same time will be invited to add their ideas and comments, which will ultimately become an integral part of the installations."

Want to check it out? Here are the workshops that are open to the public. All events happen at Arts@Renaissance(part of St. Nicks Alliance) 2 Kingsland Ave. (@ Maspeth Ave.) Garden Level, Brooklyn NY. (NY Subway: L to Graham Ave.)

  • November 10th , 6-9pm, Amplify Brooklyn Exhibition Opening
  • November 12, the online micro-philanthropic initiative iobywill launch its "Recipes for Change" toolkit, which will enable community leaders to propose and implement sustainable initiatives in their neighborhood. RSVP:
  • On November 16, Green Map System, an organization that utilizes mapping to promote sustainable community development, will host a workshop for the North Brooklyn community. RSVP:

For more information about this exhibition and workshop series, please visit