Sustainable waste systems are essential to healthy neighborhoods.
Every day, New Yorkers toss black bags into tall piles at the curb. Building supers break down cardboard boxes for recycling. Sanitation crews empty sidewalk waste baskets. Community gardeners collect food scraps from neighbors for composting. Waste management is a fundamental challenge of daily city life.
Caring for our public spaces supports community connection and wellbeing. Microhauling and composting businesses can create local jobs. Building design choices can support diversion from the landfill. Collective action and creative strategies can propel New York City towards a circular system.
Culminating a year of immersive research in partnership with DSNY, Forefront Fellows developed a report and created original projects on increasing waste diversion at restaurants; fostering pathways to local circular jobs; investing in decentralized waste infrastructure; and reclaiming underutilized spaces for local community exchanges.
New Loops re-envisioned how we keep our city clean, offering new approaches to waste that support our health, climate and society.
Buildings, blocks, neighborhoods and the City all have a role to play.
In partnership with the Department of Sanitation, our Fellows researched residential waste management and developed actionable recommendations and tools for a cleaner city.
This report was authored by the Urban Design Forum’s 2022 Forefront Fellows. It does not represent the opinions of DSNY.
Working in small teams, Fellows developed independent projects that offer tools for community members and city leaders to bring circular waste practices to our neighborhoods, buildings, and businesses.
The 2022 Forefront Fellows are an interdisciplinary cohort of designers, community planners, environmental justice advocates, developers and policy experts shaping the future of New York City.
Forefront is an annual professional fellowship dedicated to cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, development, policy, and advocacy.
Each year, an interdisciplinary cohort of 25 Forefront Fellows investigates how design can address a social or political challenge facing New York City. Over the course of 10 months, Fellows explore wide-ranging approaches to the program topic in partnership with a city agency and through independent projects. Fellows build new skills and knowledge, expand their professional community, and develop meaningful projects with impact beyond the fellowship.
Forefront is grounded in an equity-based approach to urban design, which shapes the composition of each cohort, the selection of program theme, and the ethos of the program.
We are pleased to partner with the Department of Sanitation for the first phase of the Forefront Fellowship.
New Loops is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Urban Design Forum programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Special thanks to Carmelo Freda at the Department of Sanitation and Victoria Dearborn for their brilliant partnership, and to the following individuals who graciously lent their expertise to this research. The insights and recommendations in this report do not necessarily reflect their views or those of their organizations:
Bridget Anderson, Ana Baptista, Arlind Belegu, Annie Carforo, Ryan Castalia, DeNeile Cooper, Stephanie Eisenberg, Guido Hartray, Jonathan Hawkins, Christine Hegel, Terra Ishee, Derbert King, Anne Krassner, Susan Latham, Andrea Lieske, Emilio Lopez, Tiera Mack, Clare Miflin, Kate Mikuliak, Desiree Milin, Cesar Morales, Chief Richard Perrotta, Catherine Ponte, Devin Reitsma, Renfis Ruiz Lopez, Andi Temali, Melvin Turner, Emilie Seif, George Sferra, and Justin Wood.
We are also grateful to Council Member Sandy Nurse and DSNY Deputy Commissioner Gregory Anderson for their invigorating keynote addresses at our final Capstone event.