First of all, apologies for the big gap between posts. Getting all the information from paper into electronic form has taken much longer than anyone expected. Our working group is having a bit of a shake-up. Some of our volunteers are no longer able to offer the amount of time they had previously, so we’re moving slowly (but we’re still moving). We have all the notes you all wrote on the tables entered now, but it’s taking a while to get everything organized. I hope I will have more for you next week.
Secondly, thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the first Engage: Your City Your Voice event through our surveys, over twitter, and in the comments on my last post. Your feedback is important as we build Engage into a series of events.
And because your feedback is so important, I’ll take this post to share with you some of the themes that came out of your feedback and how the working group is planning to move forward.
Generally speaking, the majority of the feedback we received was quite positive. It’s very apparent that you think discussion is important and you want to participate in your city, and you think that Engage: Your City, Your Voice is a good way to do that. That’s exciting for me because it means there’s a large group of people out there who want to contribute to making the city better.
There were, of course, constructive criticisms and the working group is taking them very seriously. There were 4 big things that stood out amongst the feedback. And as with all feedback, there were good and bad comments on each.
1. Venue: Opinion was pretty evenly split on City Hall as a venue for this type of event. Lots of you really love City Hall and thought it was an inspiring place to hold the event, especially given the topics. The other half thought the space was too large and too loud for good discussion.
The working group thought City Hall was a great venue, especially for our first event, but we are planning to try different venues around the city in an effort to try and reach different groups of people.
2. Accessibility: Nearly everyone who provided feedback was glad the venue was easily accessible by public transportation.
The working group will definitely keep this in mind as we book spaces for future events.
3. Audience: Some people felt the audience or participants were not diverse enough. A number of people felt that this was the same general group of fairly privileged people providing opinions on inner city issues and homelessness without including homeless people and people from lower income neighbourhoods.
Part of the reason the working group wants to try different venues is to try to reach different groups of people. We will also try other ways of getting the word out about our events to engage with a more diverse crowd.
4. Facilitation: There were mixed reviews on this as well, but generally the comments agree that we need to have better trained facilitators to make these events meaningful for everyone that attends.
Our facilitators are volunteers and have varying experience with facilitation, but the working group will prepare them better for future events.
Thank you all again for coming out to Engage: Your City, Your Voice – Life in the Urban Core. I hope you’ll continue to attend our future events (including the upcoming Community Challenge, there will be a post about this from Tegan next week) and bring your passion and enthusiasm for Edmonton.