At-Home Learning From the National Building Museum, Week 4: How Would You Change Your Neighborhood?

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Many people in a city help decide how it changes: government officials, developers, activists, and community members. How would you want your neighborhood to change? Is all change good?

Choose one of the design opportunities or challenges you identified after conducting interviews.

  • For example, your neighborhood might have a lot of green space—a design opportunity. How could you make design that green space to make more accessible and attractive to more people in the neighborhood?
  • Maybe your neighborhood has trash on the street—a design challenge, What product or system can you design to reduce litter?


Brainstorm all the ways you could solve the challenge or improve upon an opportunity. Here are some guidelines:

  • There are no bad ideas! Just record what comes to mind and keep going. You never know what other ideas it might shake loose.
  • Write down and draw ideas as you have them.
  • Try to come up with as many ideas as possible to start.


Once you have landed on a solution, how can you represent your ideas visually?

  • Make a model of the solution using recyclables and other craft materials you have on hand
  • Draw out your ideas
  • Design something digitally. There are a number of tools available, such as:
    • Sketchup — for making objects or buildings
    • StreetMix — play around with what a street could look like
    • FloorPlanner — for rooms and spaces


Be sure to share your designs with others, get feedback, and make changes based on what you learn.

  • Good designers always get feedback to improve what they are working on and keep working to improve their designs.
  • Ask your family and friends or the people you interviewed for advice and feedback on your ideas to help improve them. Make at least one update to your ideas based on what people told you.
  • Share your design with the National Building Museum: InstagramFacebook / Twitter


Take action!

  • What can you do to make your ideas real? Do you need to write to someone in local government? Persuade your parents—or someone at your school? Write a  letter or make a video to advocate for the changes you would like to happen.


Week 1: What Is Design?
Week 2: Understanding Your Neighborhood
Week 3: Identifying Neighborhood Challenges