Last week I got to facilitate a discussion group for the first event in Next Gen’s Engage: Your City, Your Voice series. Wait, you haven’t heard about this before? What is Engage: Your City, Your Voice? Well, let me fill you in!
The series of Engage: Your City, Your Voice discussions brings together Edmontonians from all walks of life who are interested in sharing ideas about the future of the city we call home. Next Gen wants you to come voice your thoughts and ideas, and engage with other visionaries, thinkers, and creatives in our community who want to build a better and more vibrant city. Over the next year, we’ll have a series of discussions on topics that are important to the citizens of Edmonton. I wanted to be a part of the working group that plans these events because I think this is a great opportunity for citizens to communicate back to City administration and City Council about our vision of what we want Edmonton to be.
So, last Thursday (January 28th) was our first event – bit of a trial run, a bit of a learning experience for the group, but I thought it was a great success. Our theme this time was Life in the Urban Core and we had a great mix of people who wanted to talk about living, working, visiting, and using the core of our city. Over the course of the evening, participants got to discuss specific topics that were most important to them and connect with other Edmontonians who are interested in building a better, more vibrant city.
As I said, I got to facilitate a disscussion group and my table had lots of energy and really thoughtful ideas about what makes the core attactive to certain groups of people and less attractive to others. One major theme that came out of all of our discussions was the disconnect between perception and reality of what is really going on in the core – be it crime rates, different housing options, transportation accessibility, or things to do.
My group wants Edmonton’s core to be a destination and a place to live. They want to see all kinds of different people living in the core, using our public spaces, and creating venues to connect with each other. They want the core to be alive. It was an exciting and inspiring group to talk to. I wanted to hear what all the other groups had to say and get going on planning our next event. We wanted to keep this dialogue alive and keep the conversations going!
So here’s how we’re going to do just that: The working group will be compiling the feedback from all of the discussions over the next few weeks and will create a document to go to City administrators and eventually City Council. I will also do a series of posts for Transforming Edmonton about each of the discussion topics as the information comes together. The information will be available for anyone who was at Life in the Urban Core or anyone who wants to find out what was said.
We will also use feedback from the participants to select the next discussion theme, so keep an eye out – it’s sure to be another great evening.