Kensington Market Community - plans for the 2005 Pedestrian Sundays
To start the meeting, the City staff presented results from their recent community surveys and also gave context from their insight. Maps of the area were provided for reference.
In small groups, attendees brainstormed multiple answers to each of eight key
1. Why do you want (or not want) to hold a Pedestrian Sunday event(s)?
2. Which streets (if any) do you propose to close for a Pedestrian Zone?
3. How often and for what hours do you propose Pedestrian Sundays?
4. How will you consult with the community and be inclusive?
5. What kind of activities do you propose?
6. What is your plan for vehicular access and parking?
7. What considerations will you include for local business?
8. What considerations will you include for local residents?
Each answer (proposal element) was placed on the wall under the related question.
- Kensington merchants (managers or business owners): 9
- Kensington employees (business or non-profit): 3
- Kensington residents: 21
- Kensington visitors or shoppers: 10
- Other: 1
At the end of the process the city staff read back to the room the top 3-4 ideas for each question.
This meeting was one of many in a series organized by community leaders and the City. A major difference at this meeting was the lack of grand standing and loud debate. Some of the 'usual suspects' that often dominated the agenda got frustrated with not being able to make speeches, while accepted the new 'write and dot' format.
It was obvious that a majority of women participated where usually men dominated.
Having the City host and endorse the dotmocracy process gave it greater legitimacy.
There were some concerns that I as facilitator was biased because I was also friends with Pedestrian Sunday organizers, but after promising that I would be objective and would not contribute or influence the content, there were no more concerns.
The 8 parallel questions seemed to work well. I had to encourage people to give answers to the those questions that had less answers. I think this worked because there were many small groups who were familiar with the topic and the questions were very accessible.
After the final results were given to organizers and city staff, it is not clear how much they used them. Both City officials and community organizers commented that getting support and buy-in from a few power brokers was more important.
The City took the top 20 ideas to document in their own minutes. I took all the results and generated a complete report. The turn around time was about 3 weeks. I think it might have been more well received if it was presented in print, given to more people, discussed in the local press and was given some agenda time in a follow-up meeting.