When you’re about to rebuild an Interstate Highway through a community, how do you reach out to citizens to get their thoughts? In Minneapolis, the MNDOT’s approach: host dinner on a bridge overlooking the construction site.
It’s an idea worth noting because if you’ve ever been to government attempt at community engagement (information and idea gathering) — you know the standard methodology produces pretty lackluster results. Here’s the routine — find a room, get an easel, put up design drawing, stand in front of an easel, talk to the same usual suspects who go to these things (I know this because even before my time on Council, I went to these things).
In short, the method doesn’t return true community feedback on a project except from the hyper-minority of those who are extraordinarily or professionally engaged. Put bluntly, this is an area where old methods must be killed and new ones adopted — and this idea out of Minneapolis hit a healthy vein and should be both noticed and possibly copied. Get the full story from Nextcity.
And, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be more intentional about our bridges, either. They can be used for so much more.