Frequently Asked Questions

EMERGING NEIGHBORHOODS PROJECT

Q: What does the "intensive six week" project entail?

There are three key activities during the six weeks:

1. - During small group conversations, community members are introduced to the Opportunity Map. Discussion includes what quality of life themes are illustrated as "Opportunity Poor" and "Opportunity Rich" and, from the perspective of living in the community, what are some key ideas or issues that should be a priority of improving or maintaining.

2. - During a larger community-wide gathering, the residents - with designers by their side and a map in front of them - are teamed up to identify key places that could use additional services or could look better and describe how that would improve opportunity.

3. - The Geospatial Collaborative and ROGUE teams take the feedback and share the information with community partners.  Collectively they address the issues identified in #2 and work toward scheduling an actual short-term demonstration of added services or features within the community to help improve opportunity.  The actual demonstration would occur in early 2018.

 

Q: What's the point of this activity?

The Emerging Neighborhoods Project is an opportunity to realize the three key values of the Geospatial Collaborative within a neighborhood: Convene. Inform. Demonstrate.  

Convene. Through this project we aim to gather neighbors and institutions/agencies in one place through different activities and learn how to talk to each other.   The "convening" will use various tools that we've used in the past as well as tools from our project partners to help in the conversation and to understand neighborhood and community a little better.

Inform. The Opportunity Map is a resource used a conversation starter. "The details are in the data" and although we can schedule a time to go through the details, that isn't what our conversations and activities are about. We are focused on illustrating just how powerful information can be in understanding community needs and where communities are thriving The goal is to then provide this information in a digestable way to communities and then ask them to prioritize themes or factors that would help to improve those "Opportunity Poor" areas and maintain the "Opportunity Rich" areas.

Demonstrate. Wouldn't it be great if ideas to improve how you live could be tested before placed into full practice at a large expense? Now it can. Given neighborhood priorities and ideas articulated during our engagement activities, several resident-driven ideas will be actually demonstrated to determine whether it addresses core neighborhood issues and has the potential to improve opportunity. For those ideas that work well, follow-up discussions will occur with local and regional agencies for a more permanent implementation and for those ideas that don't work so well...we just won't ever mention those again.

Q: The map shows "what is", it doesn't provide any answers. I'm not sure this is an effort I'd like to participate in.

There is a lot to unpack in this question so bare with us...

BINGO! the map does only demonstrate "what is" and for many communities that includes low or no access to healthy food options, failing schools with an average annual student population turnover rate of at least 50% and disconnects between where people live and work quantified as commutes that last between one and two hours each way (yes, I'm still talking about Tucson). For those communities "what is" needs to change...now. If we spent a few additional man-hours and reached out to some of our local information junkies we would probably also find that "what is" has progressively gotten worse over time the only difference now is that someone (ehm, us and our partners) have created a method and illustration of "what is" to start the conversation for change and facilitate greater collaboration with those who have the resources to help.

The Opportunity Maps are just that, maps. They illustrate information we have analyzed through research, discussion and experience to identify the potential challenges to achieving a livable quality of life. We do hate to use internet quotes but... Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience. You need experience to gain wisdom."  For us, the Opportunity Maps are the information. Knowledge is gained through working with communities directly (who invite us in) and agencies and institutions who are ready to approach problems differently. Through intentional problem solving - stop reaching for the quickest answer and instead experience the problem - we aim to experience issues the community faces to test and develop a solution that addresses the core issue.

Lastly, we should be clear that there are no quotas of the number of people to talk to or communities we engage with. Central to our values is that we must be invited in. We know how to collect and analyze data. We know how to engage communities and use tools from our partners to elicit valuable knowledge. We know people and have access to resources to facilitate exploring solutions and establishing long-term change.  The Emerging Neighborhood Project is an opportunity for us to share what and who we know to make a lasting local impact.