A good chunk of my time this spring and summer has been devoted to two citizen engagement projects here in my hometown of Northfield that are now winding down: the Northfield School District’s calendar conversation and the City of Northfield’s parking management plan for downtown.
Both projects involved a significant amount of blogging about all the face-to-face meetings, both committees and large public gathering. I’m more convinced than ever about the importance of this complementarity… the subject of a longer blog post that I’m working on.
I also used Google Hangouts On Air for the first time, a one-hour video conference with a School District panel. I added a live chat element to it for the audience to ask questions. And I hosted a blog discussion thread attached to the blog post with the archived video. I was pleased with the technology and plan to use it again.
I’ve been hired by Northfield Public Schools Superintendent Chris Richardson to manage the online portion of a community discussion about school calendars.
Like their Transformational Technology project, it’s happening on a blog that’s part of the District’s WordPress Multiuser platform.
I’ve put up a project blogsite: A school calendar conversation with the Northfield community. The first community meeting is tonight.
I’m working with Superintendent Chris Richardson and Matt Hillmann, Director of Human Resources and Technology at the Northfield Public Schools District. They’re using my online citizen engagement services to get additional public feedback on the Transformational Technology proposal that’s now being considered by the School Board.
It’s happening on a blog that’s part of the District’s WordPress Multiuser platform:
Transformational Technology for Northfield Public Schools, ISD #659
Matt has been blogging about the project for nearly a year on Blogger and so we’ve imported all those posts into this new blog. He presented the final draft of the proposal to the School Board earlier this week and the Board will likely vote on it at one of their February meetings.
I’ve got a contract with the City of Northfield to create and manage the online platform for a City project: Developing a parking management plan for downtown.
We’ll be using a variety of online interactive services, including social media sites, to provide ways for the stakeholders and residents to participate online.
I’ll be teaming up with Ross Currier, Executive Director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC).
I’ve been getting to know members of the Edina City Council recently, talking with them by phone and meeting with some of them. My main goal is to update them about what Edina City Manager Scott Neal and I have in mind for Edina Citizen Engagement and getting their ideas for what we might do this fall and how to involve them.
Late last month I met with Council member Mary Brindle, Mayor Jim Hovland, and Council Member Joni Bennett. I also had a chance to chat with Council members Josh Sprague and Ann Swenson at a recent Council work session. See the Edina Council bios page for more about them.
In this week’s Edina Sun Current, reporter Katie Mintz has an article about the Edina Citizen Engagement titled Edina launches website for public input.
“I’m excited to see what [the website] will yield because I know Edina has a pretty active online community. People want to interact that way,” [City Manager Scott] Neal said.
He said citizen engagement is important to the Edina City Council, and the website adds a new dimension to the conversation. It is not intended to replace actual meetings. The city paid about $2,500 for development of the site from the communications budget, Neal said.
“I would be horrified if a city said enough of these face-to-face public hearings, but for a lot of people that’s difficult to fit in their schedule and it can be intimidating,” said Griff Wigley of Wigley & Associates, who built and is moderating the website.
Wigley coaches businesses, nonprofits and governments on the art of leadership blogging and the use of other social media technologies. He said the tools give residents a convenient, intimate and fresh look at issues.
Yesterday I moderated a one-hour live chat with Edina City Manager Scott Neal about all things related to the economic development of Southdale Center, part of our Edina Citizen Engagement project.
I used CoverItLive to host the chat and it worked well. The only glitch was that I couldn’t get a photo of Scott to appear with his comments.
We had 21 different people attend over the course of the hour, with up to a dozen at any one time. Seven people submitted questions and comments.
This was our first online event. I blogged the rationale for it here. Scott blogged about it here.
In addition to the Southdale Center Economic Development project, Edina Citizen Engagement has two additional blogsites. One is focused on the Edina 2012 Budget and the other on the development of the Edina Grandview District.
I spoke to the Grandview District Steering Committee last week about how the site could be used for citizen engagement.
I stopped by Edina City Hall last week to meet with Edina City Manager Scott Neal about the Edina Citizen Engagement project.
The first citizen engagement project will be focused on Southdale Center’s economic development.
Simon Property Group, Inc., owner of Southdale Center, has requested economic development assistance for the mall from the City of Edina, so the project aims to:
- Provide information to the public about the issue
- Provide a variety of ways for Edina citizens to engage with city staff, city council members, community leaders, and each other about the issue
The blogsite for Southdale Center Economic Development is now up. Follow the updates via its RSS feed, the Edina Citizen Engagement enewsletter, and Twitter.
I’m going to be working with the City of Edina, Minnesota on a project called Edina Citizen Engagement. The city is seeking to engage its citizens with a variety of online tools that help decision makers to address specific, near-term issues.
Edina City Manager and blogger Scott Neal is leading the effort.
The tools will vary, depending on what kind of decision needs to be made. These online tools will complement face-to-face meetings in ways that continually build civic and social capital. It’s my belief that the better Edina’s citizens and leaders get at citizen engagement, the greater the sense of community.
You can follow the Edina Citizen Engagement project via the blog’s RSS feed, the Edina Citizen Engagement enewsletter, and Twitter.