Minneapolis 2040 is the city’s twenty-year Comprehensive Plan update. The Comprehensive Plan is an important citywide policy document that provides direction for Minneapolis’ built environment. In preparation for the adoption of the new plan in 2020, I was contracted to design community engagement activities for large public events
I created four phases of engagement from 2016-2018. The first phase included visioning and goal setting; the second and third phases presented collected feedback and interim policy ideas; and the fourth phase presented draft policies for feedback before their submission to City Council for final public comment and Council approval of the plan.
I used art and artists in tandem with city resources to present and gather community thoughts and experiences to help inform the plan. These events took place across the city to gather more expansive participation. City planners chose the format of open houses with no central presentations, so a critical goal was designing spaces where visitors could quickly be oriented to the comprehensive plan development process, which stage we were currently in and what feedback had been collected previously. Activities utilized the idea of 2-minute, 10-minute and 20-minute interactions, so that participants could engage no matter how little time they had to interact.
Some highlights of the activities I designed for the open house events include:
- poets creating bespoke poems based on conversations about how connected people felt to the city
- roundtable discussions with city planners recorded by graphic recorders
- a game-like tool for modeling how to increase housing units while meeting goals for racial equity
- oversized Rolodexes of every draft policy, organized by topic and goal, with blank cards for participant commentary
- a “roadmap” to 2040, where participants created signposts indicating how we could know if progress was being made toward plan goals
I also helped choose event sites, designed the layout of spaces and created scripts/outlines to support staff interactions at each station at an event.
The goal was to provide fun, accessible, and varied entry points to representation and engagement with the City’s policies and plans. While this was a very expansive and challenging project, I was able to create a landscape that inspired connections and quality input from residents of Minneapolis. More information about the planning and implementation is available; contact me for details.