We’re halfway through the year

We’ve hit the midway mark of our fellowship (wow) and lots of things have been going on. Over the past two weeks, we:

  • presented at the City of Charlotte’s Technology Summit alongside Twyla McDermott and Jim Van Fleet 
  • had a fabulous time participating at UNCC’s Data Day
  • showcased our project at BETA, Code for America’s civic show-and-tell
  • reflected on the past six months and wrote our midyear report

We’re currently working through the next iteration of our main “What’s Happening” project…which is now called Citygram! (After many, many namestorming sessions.) As you may know, it’s a platform to send geographically relevant notifications to increase civic engagement. A lot of it’s still under development, but you can see a 30-second demo here, follow our progress on GitHub, or peek at some screenshots below.

As for upcoming visits — Tiffany is in Charlotte this week, and the entire team will be in town again the week of July 28. Tiffany will be conducting user research and is looking for interviewees!  If you or someone you know is available for an hour between July 9-11 to hang out with her and talk, she will be absolutely delighted. Sign up HERE! 

Hackathon Highlights: Promising Participants

Here’s a guest post from Davida Jackson, the official Storyteller for Code for America’s Charlotte Brigade. 

On Saturday, June 7th, we hosted our first-ever hackathon at Packard Place in uptown Charlotte. Citizens and coders came together to create solutions for community problems. There was so much energy in the room that I wanted to learn more about each person. So, in the spirit of brevity codes and famed journalist Ernest Hemingway, I asked several participants to answer a series of questions in six words or less (trust me, it’s easier said than done).  Find out why they believe in hacking for what we lack. 

image

Name:  Danny Whalen

Hood: San Francisco

Age: 28

First hackathon? No

Why Code for Charlotte? To better connect citizens to the government.

What does #hackforchange mean to you? Shared problems. Shared solutions.

What do you hope to accomplish?  Meet new people.

What talents do you bring to the table? Good listener. Web builder. CFA Fellow. 

image

Name:  Adam Parker

Hood: Third Ward (uptown Charlotte)

Age: 38

First hackathon? Yes

Why Code for Charlotte? Wanted to be a fellow, excited it’s in Charlotte.

What does #hackforchange mean to you? Citizens working to improve their city.

What do you hope to accomplish?  Meet people, learn new things and help where I can. 

What talents do you bring to the table? Former coder. 

image

Name:  Christie Kahil

Hood: Concord, NC

Age: 45

First hackathon? No

Why Code for Charlotte? Jim Van Fleet. (Code for Charlotte’s co-organizer). We need this. 

What does #hackforchange mean to you? Better government. Better community. Better life. 

What do you hope to accomplish?  Educate, learn, create and connect.

What talents do you bring to the table? Help people develop and communicate ideas. 

image

Name:  David Callaghan

Hood: Ballantyne

Age: 44

First hackathon? No

Why Code for Charlotte? Help save dogs. (He wants to implement facial recognition technology to find missing pets in Charlotte).

What does #hackforchange mean to you? Access to government and resources. 

What do you hope to accomplish?  A complete algorithm. 

What talents do you bring to the table? Big data. 

So we haven’t posted about it yet, but this was our MVP (minimum viable product) from April: whats-happ.herokuapp.com. While skeletal and sketchy, this simple interface + back-end got us to a place where we could successfully share and build energy around our idea in Charlotte.
The problem statement: We believe that there is an opportunity to help citizens better understand what’s going on in their area, when it’s going to happen, and why. By providing timely information to citizens in areas that are relevant to them, the city can be proactive instead of reactive, build trust through transparency, and increase civic engagement across the board.
Our idea in a nutshell (official name TBD…we know we can do better than “What’s Happ”): it’s a web platform that allows citizens to designate geographic area(s) they are interested in, subscribe to specific topics, and and delivers information to citizens when something they’ve subscribed to happens in their area.
Our MVP consisted of:
an initial data set - we chose Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Police Department’s traffic incident data (because it was the easiest and most accessible to work with, as it is a geoRSS feed and is updated every 3 minutes)
extract / transform / load that data into geoJSON
a geospatial query system -  a way to find subscribers whose areas of interest intersect with an event.
definition of an “event” - an event exists in a topic area and consists of a title, description of what’s going on, a time component, and a geographic component.
an information delivery mechanism (in this case, text messages via Twilio)
a way for citizens to input their address, select a radius for their area, and input their phone number.
We’re documenting this now because today, we’re taking a moment to officially bid our “What’s Happ” MVP goodbye. 
:: moment ::
After a round of user research, we’re seizing those learnings to design and develop our next iteration. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the code, feel free to see our old GitHub repo. As for what’s to come — nothing’s deployed yet, but we’re currently working in our new GitHub repo.
Goodbye, What’s Happ! You’ve served us quite well. There were things about you that we loved, things about you that failed. You taught us a lot. We will miss you dearly, but it’s time to move on. Yes, onwards and upwards :)
-Tiffany
So we haven’t posted about it yet, but this was our MVP (minimum viable product) from April: whats-happ.herokuapp.com. While skeletal and sketchy, this simple interface + back-end got us to a place where we could successfully share and build energy around our idea in Charlotte.
The problem statement: We believe that there is an opportunity to help citizens better understand what’s going on in their area, when it’s going to happen, and why. By providing timely information to citizens in areas that are relevant to them, the city can be proactive instead of reactive, build trust through transparency, and increase civic engagement across the board.
Our idea in a nutshell (official name TBD…we know we can do better than “What’s Happ”): it’s a web platform that allows citizens to designate geographic area(s) they are interested in, subscribe to specific topics, and and delivers information to citizens when something they’ve subscribed to happens in their area.
Our MVP consisted of:
an initial data set - we chose Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Police Department’s traffic incident data (because it was the easiest and most accessible to work with, as it is a geoRSS feed and is updated every 3 minutes)
extract / transform / load that data into geoJSON
a geospatial query system -  a way to find subscribers whose areas of interest intersect with an event.
definition of an “event” - an event exists in a topic area and consists of a title, description of what’s going on, a time component, and a geographic component.
an information delivery mechanism (in this case, text messages via Twilio)
a way for citizens to input their address, select a radius for their area, and input their phone number.
We’re documenting this now because today, we’re taking a moment to officially bid our “What’s Happ” MVP goodbye. 
:: moment ::
After a round of user research, we’re seizing those learnings to design and develop our next iteration. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the code, feel free to see our old GitHub repo. As for what’s to come — nothing’s deployed yet, but we’re currently working in our new GitHub repo.
Goodbye, What’s Happ! You’ve served us quite well. There were things about you that we loved, things about you that failed. You taught us a lot. We will miss you dearly, but it’s time to move on. Yes, onwards and upwards :)
-Tiffany
So we haven’t posted about it yet, but this was our MVP (minimum viable product) from April: whats-happ.herokuapp.com. While skeletal and sketchy, this simple interface + back-end got us to a place where we could successfully share and build energy around our idea in Charlotte.
The problem statement: We believe that there is an opportunity to help citizens better understand what’s going on in their area, when it’s going to happen, and why. By providing timely information to citizens in areas that are relevant to them, the city can be proactive instead of reactive, build trust through transparency, and increase civic engagement across the board.
Our idea in a nutshell (official name TBD…we know we can do better than “What’s Happ”): it’s a web platform that allows citizens to designate geographic area(s) they are interested in, subscribe to specific topics, and and delivers information to citizens when something they’ve subscribed to happens in their area.
Our MVP consisted of:
an initial data set - we chose Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Police Department’s traffic incident data (because it was the easiest and most accessible to work with, as it is a geoRSS feed and is updated every 3 minutes)
extract / transform / load that data into geoJSON
a geospatial query system -  a way to find subscribers whose areas of interest intersect with an event.
definition of an “event” - an event exists in a topic area and consists of a title, description of what’s going on, a time component, and a geographic component.
an information delivery mechanism (in this case, text messages via Twilio)
a way for citizens to input their address, select a radius for their area, and input their phone number.
We’re documenting this now because today, we’re taking a moment to officially bid our “What’s Happ” MVP goodbye. 
:: moment ::
After a round of user research, we’re seizing those learnings to design and develop our next iteration. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the code, feel free to see our old GitHub repo. As for what’s to come — nothing’s deployed yet, but we’re currently working in our new GitHub repo.
Goodbye, What’s Happ! You’ve served us quite well. There were things about you that we loved, things about you that failed. You taught us a lot. We will miss you dearly, but it’s time to move on. Yes, onwards and upwards :)
-Tiffany

So we haven’t posted about it yet, but this was our MVP (minimum viable product) from April: whats-happ.herokuapp.com. While skeletal and sketchy, this simple interface + back-end got us to a place where we could successfully share and build energy around our idea in Charlotte.

The problem statement: We believe that there is an opportunity to help citizens better understand what’s going on in their area, when it’s going to happen, and why. By providing timely information to citizens in areas that are relevant to them, the city can be proactive instead of reactive, build trust through transparency, and increase civic engagement across the board.

Our idea in a nutshell (official name TBD…we know we can do better than “What’s Happ”): it’s a web platform that allows citizens to designate geographic area(s) they are interested in, subscribe to specific topics, and and delivers information to citizens when something they’ve subscribed to happens in their area.

Our MVP consisted of:

  • an initial data set - we chose Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Police Department’s traffic incident data (because it was the easiest and most accessible to work with, as it is a geoRSS feed and is updated every 3 minutes)
  • extract / transform / load that data into geoJSON
  • a geospatial query system -  a way to find subscribers whose areas of interest intersect with an event.
  • definition of an “event” - an event exists in a topic area and consists of a title, description of what’s going on, a time component, and a geographic component.
  • an information delivery mechanism (in this case, text messages via Twilio)
  • a way for citizens to input their address, select a radius for their area, and input their phone number.

We’re documenting this now because today, we’re taking a moment to officially bid our “What’s Happ” MVP goodbye. 

:: moment ::

After a round of user research, we’re seizing those learnings to design and develop our next iteration. If you’re interested in digging deeper into the code, feel free to see our old GitHub repo. As for what’s to come — nothing’s deployed yet, but we’re currently working in our new GitHub repo.

Goodbye, What’s Happ! You’ve served us quite well. There were things about you that we loved, things about you that failed. You taught us a lot. We will miss you dearly, but it’s time to move on. Yes, onwards and upwards :)

-Tiffany

We wrapped up a second round of citizen research last month to help us better understand if our idea resonates with users. (See the “What’s Happening” sketch above.)
Here’s how we structured our qualitative research:
8 Charlotte citizens total (5 one-on-one interviews, 1 3-person focus group)
1 hour discussions each (special thanks to the Knight School of Communication for helping us with recruiting and space!)
Goals:
To conduct generative research around how people currently find out about what’s going on in their neighborhood / area
To discover what topics citizens are interested in knowing more about
To better understand channel preferences (ways for citizens to receive information)
To evaluate (at a high-level) citizen appetite for the “What’s Happening” idea
Through various activities such as cascading card sorts, build-your-own webpage, and drawing on a map, we strove to answer these questions. See here for the full interview guide.
Five initial takeways of how this research is informing design:
Most people hear about what’s going on in their area via word of mouth, and people WANT to know what’s going on! There is a clear opportunity space here to better and more proactively disseminate information than what is being used currently.
Texting is for urgent and time-sensitive matters only. Allow citizens to choose between text + email, and perhaps recommend which topics are good for email vs. text.
There is a real need to set expectations and show citizens exactly what they are signing up for, for each topic: type of content, length of message (will there be a link to more info? aggregated email?), frequency of delivery, how far in advance, an example.
Different topics are important to people in different areas. (i.e. “I want to know about construction for a .5 mile radius, but I want to know about events for a 3 mile radius.”) Might be complex — but allow citizens to indicate a geographic area for each topic subscribed.
Ambiguity of topic titles. Not sure if people know exactly what “Area Plans”, “Special Events”, etc are. Provide a clear definition and examples for each.
We wrapped up a second round of citizen research last month to help us better understand if our idea resonates with users. (See the “What’s Happening” sketch above.)
Here’s how we structured our qualitative research:
8 Charlotte citizens total (5 one-on-one interviews, 1 3-person focus group)
1 hour discussions each (special thanks to the Knight School of Communication for helping us with recruiting and space!)
Goals:
To conduct generative research around how people currently find out about what’s going on in their neighborhood / area
To discover what topics citizens are interested in knowing more about
To better understand channel preferences (ways for citizens to receive information)
To evaluate (at a high-level) citizen appetite for the “What’s Happening” idea
Through various activities such as cascading card sorts, build-your-own webpage, and drawing on a map, we strove to answer these questions. See here for the full interview guide.
Five initial takeways of how this research is informing design:
Most people hear about what’s going on in their area via word of mouth, and people WANT to know what’s going on! There is a clear opportunity space here to better and more proactively disseminate information than what is being used currently.
Texting is for urgent and time-sensitive matters only. Allow citizens to choose between text + email, and perhaps recommend which topics are good for email vs. text.
There is a real need to set expectations and show citizens exactly what they are signing up for, for each topic: type of content, length of message (will there be a link to more info? aggregated email?), frequency of delivery, how far in advance, an example.
Different topics are important to people in different areas. (i.e. “I want to know about construction for a .5 mile radius, but I want to know about events for a 3 mile radius.”) Might be complex — but allow citizens to indicate a geographic area for each topic subscribed.
Ambiguity of topic titles. Not sure if people know exactly what “Area Plans”, “Special Events”, etc are. Provide a clear definition and examples for each.
We wrapped up a second round of citizen research last month to help us better understand if our idea resonates with users. (See the “What’s Happening” sketch above.)
Here’s how we structured our qualitative research:
8 Charlotte citizens total (5 one-on-one interviews, 1 3-person focus group)
1 hour discussions each (special thanks to the Knight School of Communication for helping us with recruiting and space!)
Goals:
To conduct generative research around how people currently find out about what’s going on in their neighborhood / area
To discover what topics citizens are interested in knowing more about
To better understand channel preferences (ways for citizens to receive information)
To evaluate (at a high-level) citizen appetite for the “What’s Happening” idea
Through various activities such as cascading card sorts, build-your-own webpage, and drawing on a map, we strove to answer these questions. See here for the full interview guide.
Five initial takeways of how this research is informing design:
Most people hear about what’s going on in their area via word of mouth, and people WANT to know what’s going on! There is a clear opportunity space here to better and more proactively disseminate information than what is being used currently.
Texting is for urgent and time-sensitive matters only. Allow citizens to choose between text + email, and perhaps recommend which topics are good for email vs. text.
There is a real need to set expectations and show citizens exactly what they are signing up for, for each topic: type of content, length of message (will there be a link to more info? aggregated email?), frequency of delivery, how far in advance, an example.
Different topics are important to people in different areas. (i.e. “I want to know about construction for a .5 mile radius, but I want to know about events for a 3 mile radius.”) Might be complex — but allow citizens to indicate a geographic area for each topic subscribed.
Ambiguity of topic titles. Not sure if people know exactly what “Area Plans”, “Special Events”, etc are. Provide a clear definition and examples for each.
We wrapped up a second round of citizen research last month to help us better understand if our idea resonates with users. (See the “What’s Happening” sketch above.)
Here’s how we structured our qualitative research:
8 Charlotte citizens total (5 one-on-one interviews, 1 3-person focus group)
1 hour discussions each (special thanks to the Knight School of Communication for helping us with recruiting and space!)
Goals:
To conduct generative research around how people currently find out about what’s going on in their neighborhood / area
To discover what topics citizens are interested in knowing more about
To better understand channel preferences (ways for citizens to receive information)
To evaluate (at a high-level) citizen appetite for the “What’s Happening” idea
Through various activities such as cascading card sorts, build-your-own webpage, and drawing on a map, we strove to answer these questions. See here for the full interview guide.
Five initial takeways of how this research is informing design:
Most people hear about what’s going on in their area via word of mouth, and people WANT to know what’s going on! There is a clear opportunity space here to better and more proactively disseminate information than what is being used currently.
Texting is for urgent and time-sensitive matters only. Allow citizens to choose between text + email, and perhaps recommend which topics are good for email vs. text.
There is a real need to set expectations and show citizens exactly what they are signing up for, for each topic: type of content, length of message (will there be a link to more info? aggregated email?), frequency of delivery, how far in advance, an example.
Different topics are important to people in different areas. (i.e. “I want to know about construction for a .5 mile radius, but I want to know about events for a 3 mile radius.”) Might be complex — but allow citizens to indicate a geographic area for each topic subscribed.
Ambiguity of topic titles. Not sure if people know exactly what “Area Plans”, “Special Events”, etc are. Provide a clear definition and examples for each.

We wrapped up a second round of citizen research last month to help us better understand if our idea resonates with users. (See the “What’s Happening” sketch above.)

Here’s how we structured our qualitative research:

  • 8 Charlotte citizens total (5 one-on-one interviews, 1 3-person focus group)
  • 1 hour discussions each (special thanks to the Knight School of Communication for helping us with recruiting and space!)

Goals:

  • To conduct generative research around how people currently find out about what’s going on in their neighborhood / area
  • To discover what topics citizens are interested in knowing more about
  • To better understand channel preferences (ways for citizens to receive information)
  • To evaluate (at a high-level) citizen appetite for the “What’s Happening” idea

Through various activities such as cascading card sorts, build-your-own webpage, and drawing on a map, we strove to answer these questions. See here for the full interview guide.

Five initial takeways of how this research is informing design:

  • Most people hear about what’s going on in their area via word of mouth, and people WANT to know what’s going on! There is a clear opportunity space here to better and more proactively disseminate information than what is being used currently.
  • Texting is for urgent and time-sensitive matters only. Allow citizens to choose between text + email, and perhaps recommend which topics are good for email vs. text.
  • There is a real need to set expectations and show citizens exactly what they are signing up for, for each topic: type of content, length of message (will there be a link to more info? aggregated email?), frequency of delivery, how far in advance, an example.
  • Different topics are important to people in different areas. (i.e. “I want to know about construction for a .5 mile radius, but I want to know about events for a 3 mile radius.”) Might be complex — but allow citizens to indicate a geographic area for each topic subscribed.
  • Ambiguity of topic titles. Not sure if people know exactly what “Area Plans”, “Special Events”, etc are. Provide a clear definition and examples for each.
We had a lovely return visit back to Charlotte last month. We shared our progress so far and asked for feedback from numerous departments, and hopefully got them to be as excited as we are about our ideas. The ideas we discussed included (these are working titles):
What’s Happening? - a way to help citizens better and more proactively understand what is going on in the areas that are important to them
Welcome Wagon - connecting new residents in Charlotte to their neighborhood association (and vice versa)
Open Data Portal - helping the City to draft an Open Data Policy, implement an open data platform, and advising on how to make it part of a repeatable process within Charlotte
It was really awesome to see all of our friends again and experience Charlotte in springtime — excessive amounts of beautiful greenery and bloomability (this 4-month old San Franciscan has already forgotten what seasons are.)
We also threw our inaugural Charlotte Civic Mixer alongside the Code for Charlotte brigade, and had a bountiful showing of folks from the city, county, brigade, and other community members. We did a couple of interactive brainstorms around “subscribing to your city” and maps, and enjoyed local beverages from Lenny Boy, Charlotte’s kombucha brewery (+ many thanks to Packard Place for hosting).
Stay tuned for more in-depth pieces of our process as we keep chugging along!
-Tiffany
We had a lovely return visit back to Charlotte last month. We shared our progress so far and asked for feedback from numerous departments, and hopefully got them to be as excited as we are about our ideas. The ideas we discussed included (these are working titles):
What’s Happening? - a way to help citizens better and more proactively understand what is going on in the areas that are important to them
Welcome Wagon - connecting new residents in Charlotte to their neighborhood association (and vice versa)
Open Data Portal - helping the City to draft an Open Data Policy, implement an open data platform, and advising on how to make it part of a repeatable process within Charlotte
It was really awesome to see all of our friends again and experience Charlotte in springtime — excessive amounts of beautiful greenery and bloomability (this 4-month old San Franciscan has already forgotten what seasons are.)
We also threw our inaugural Charlotte Civic Mixer alongside the Code for Charlotte brigade, and had a bountiful showing of folks from the city, county, brigade, and other community members. We did a couple of interactive brainstorms around “subscribing to your city” and maps, and enjoyed local beverages from Lenny Boy, Charlotte’s kombucha brewery (+ many thanks to Packard Place for hosting).
Stay tuned for more in-depth pieces of our process as we keep chugging along!
-Tiffany
We had a lovely return visit back to Charlotte last month. We shared our progress so far and asked for feedback from numerous departments, and hopefully got them to be as excited as we are about our ideas. The ideas we discussed included (these are working titles):
What’s Happening? - a way to help citizens better and more proactively understand what is going on in the areas that are important to them
Welcome Wagon - connecting new residents in Charlotte to their neighborhood association (and vice versa)
Open Data Portal - helping the City to draft an Open Data Policy, implement an open data platform, and advising on how to make it part of a repeatable process within Charlotte
It was really awesome to see all of our friends again and experience Charlotte in springtime — excessive amounts of beautiful greenery and bloomability (this 4-month old San Franciscan has already forgotten what seasons are.)
We also threw our inaugural Charlotte Civic Mixer alongside the Code for Charlotte brigade, and had a bountiful showing of folks from the city, county, brigade, and other community members. We did a couple of interactive brainstorms around “subscribing to your city” and maps, and enjoyed local beverages from Lenny Boy, Charlotte’s kombucha brewery (+ many thanks to Packard Place for hosting).
Stay tuned for more in-depth pieces of our process as we keep chugging along!
-Tiffany
We had a lovely return visit back to Charlotte last month. We shared our progress so far and asked for feedback from numerous departments, and hopefully got them to be as excited as we are about our ideas. The ideas we discussed included (these are working titles):
What’s Happening? - a way to help citizens better and more proactively understand what is going on in the areas that are important to them
Welcome Wagon - connecting new residents in Charlotte to their neighborhood association (and vice versa)
Open Data Portal - helping the City to draft an Open Data Policy, implement an open data platform, and advising on how to make it part of a repeatable process within Charlotte
It was really awesome to see all of our friends again and experience Charlotte in springtime — excessive amounts of beautiful greenery and bloomability (this 4-month old San Franciscan has already forgotten what seasons are.)
We also threw our inaugural Charlotte Civic Mixer alongside the Code for Charlotte brigade, and had a bountiful showing of folks from the city, county, brigade, and other community members. We did a couple of interactive brainstorms around “subscribing to your city” and maps, and enjoyed local beverages from Lenny Boy, Charlotte’s kombucha brewery (+ many thanks to Packard Place for hosting).
Stay tuned for more in-depth pieces of our process as we keep chugging along!
-Tiffany
We had a lovely return visit back to Charlotte last month. We shared our progress so far and asked for feedback from numerous departments, and hopefully got them to be as excited as we are about our ideas. The ideas we discussed included (these are working titles):
What’s Happening? - a way to help citizens better and more proactively understand what is going on in the areas that are important to them
Welcome Wagon - connecting new residents in Charlotte to their neighborhood association (and vice versa)
Open Data Portal - helping the City to draft an Open Data Policy, implement an open data platform, and advising on how to make it part of a repeatable process within Charlotte
It was really awesome to see all of our friends again and experience Charlotte in springtime — excessive amounts of beautiful greenery and bloomability (this 4-month old San Franciscan has already forgotten what seasons are.)
We also threw our inaugural Charlotte Civic Mixer alongside the Code for Charlotte brigade, and had a bountiful showing of folks from the city, county, brigade, and other community members. We did a couple of interactive brainstorms around “subscribing to your city” and maps, and enjoyed local beverages from Lenny Boy, Charlotte’s kombucha brewery (+ many thanks to Packard Place for hosting).
Stay tuned for more in-depth pieces of our process as we keep chugging along!
-Tiffany

We had a lovely return visit back to Charlotte last month. We shared our progress so far and asked for feedback from numerous departments, and hopefully got them to be as excited as we are about our ideas. The ideas we discussed included (these are working titles):

  • What’s Happening? - a way to help citizens better and more proactively understand what is going on in the areas that are important to them
  • Welcome Wagon - connecting new residents in Charlotte to their neighborhood association (and vice versa)
  • Open Data Portal - helping the City to draft an Open Data Policy, implement an open data platform, and advising on how to make it part of a repeatable process within Charlotte

It was really awesome to see all of our friends again and experience Charlotte in springtime — excessive amounts of beautiful greenery and bloomability (this 4-month old San Franciscan has already forgotten what seasons are.)

We also threw our inaugural Charlotte Civic Mixer alongside the Code for Charlotte brigade, and had a bountiful showing of folks from the city, county, brigade, and other community members. We did a couple of interactive brainstorms around “subscribing to your city” and maps, and enjoyed local beverages from Lenny Boy, Charlotte’s kombucha brewery (+ many thanks to Packard Place for hosting).

Stay tuned for more in-depth pieces of our process as we keep chugging along!

-Tiffany

What’s it like to move into a new neighborhood?
One area we’re exploring is how to improve the “new neighbor experience.” To blow up this question a bit, we did a 45-minute rapid fire brainstorm yesterday at CfA HQ to see what ideas might come out. Here’s how it went:
11:00AM Prompt 1: “Think back to the last time you moved to a new city. On your very first day, what are three things that you wanted to know about your new neighborhood?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):
what is _____ nearby? (public transit, grocery store, library, cleanest laundromat, green space, coffee shop, book store)
what are unsafe areas?
what are the local spots? the best hangout? good food?
who lives here? (friends, neighbors?) is there a way to engage with my neighbors (online)?
is there a community center?
where can I go to job / be outside?

11:11AM Prompt 2: “Think back to your first week in your new neighborhood and how you tried to orient yourself to your surroundings. What are three things that you had trouble finding information about?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):
Fair prices of everything
Understanding public transit, knowing to get a clipper card
Community members for all folks / more chill folks
Meeting neighbors
Where to find networks of people I’m a part of already?
How is my neighborhood perceived by others in the city? What is the characterization of my neighborhood from neighbors?
What do my neighbors care about? What are the issues that affect my community?
Running routes, bike lanes
Best bodegas
Community meetings for all folks

11:22AM Prompt 3: “Now think about where you are today. What are three unanswered questions you still have about your neighborhood?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (8 min):
after 3.5 weeks in Hayes Valley: Who is the ‘mayor’ (go-to person who knows a lot of stuff about the area)? What community groups are there? Where is non-consumer art/music?
after 2-3 months in Russian Hill/Nob Hill: Is there a neighborhood organization? What events are happening specifically in my area? What are the actual boundaries of my neighborhood (to help me identify?)
after 9 months in the Mission: What neighbors have similar interests (potential friends)? Development - what’s this construction for? Upcoming street fairs?
after 1 year in Oakland: Who are the change agents? Why does no one go to neighborhood events? We need a better neighborhood storytelling system!
after 2 years in the Mission: Who are my neighbors? Turnover is so high. What’s the best way to integrate into my neighborhood respectfully? How can I start a community garden? 

11:33AM Prompt 4: “Let’s say you could ‘subscribe to your city’ — interpret that any way you want to. What are three things you’d subscribe to?” (3 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):
Endless community playlist
Events: city events open to all, events for community / local groups, decision-making meetings or info sessions by government
Updates on hyperlocalized proposed development (instead of the public notices that are hung up today)
Great neighborhood stories, a quality print periodical
CSA / recipe book
When I should come to give feedback on decisions that affect me
When disruptive things are happening near me (construction, street closures, parks closing, etc.)
Local wins in a non-PR-y way
Photos / videos of local attractions
Things that affect my transit route (i.e. new bike paths)
Public art we can be involved in, local civic artists / hackers looking to collaborate

Special thanks to Jeff, Preston, Livien, Matt, Hannah, and Andrew for letting us storm your brains. Team Charlotte also understands that the six of them (while brilliant) represent only a small subsection of the microcosm that is SF, so we plan to expand our inquiry in Charlotte and elsewhere as appropriate. 
-Tiffany
What’s it like to move into a new neighborhood?
One area we’re exploring is how to improve the “new neighbor experience.” To blow up this question a bit, we did a 45-minute rapid fire brainstorm yesterday at CfA HQ to see what ideas might come out. Here’s how it went:
11:00AM Prompt 1: “Think back to the last time you moved to a new city. On your very first day, what are three things that you wanted to know about your new neighborhood?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):
what is _____ nearby? (public transit, grocery store, library, cleanest laundromat, green space, coffee shop, book store)
what are unsafe areas?
what are the local spots? the best hangout? good food?
who lives here? (friends, neighbors?) is there a way to engage with my neighbors (online)?
is there a community center?
where can I go to job / be outside?

11:11AM Prompt 2: “Think back to your first week in your new neighborhood and how you tried to orient yourself to your surroundings. What are three things that you had trouble finding information about?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):
Fair prices of everything
Understanding public transit, knowing to get a clipper card
Community members for all folks / more chill folks
Meeting neighbors
Where to find networks of people I’m a part of already?
How is my neighborhood perceived by others in the city? What is the characterization of my neighborhood from neighbors?
What do my neighbors care about? What are the issues that affect my community?
Running routes, bike lanes
Best bodegas
Community meetings for all folks

11:22AM Prompt 3: “Now think about where you are today. What are three unanswered questions you still have about your neighborhood?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (8 min):
after 3.5 weeks in Hayes Valley: Who is the ‘mayor’ (go-to person who knows a lot of stuff about the area)? What community groups are there? Where is non-consumer art/music?
after 2-3 months in Russian Hill/Nob Hill: Is there a neighborhood organization? What events are happening specifically in my area? What are the actual boundaries of my neighborhood (to help me identify?)
after 9 months in the Mission: What neighbors have similar interests (potential friends)? Development - what’s this construction for? Upcoming street fairs?
after 1 year in Oakland: Who are the change agents? Why does no one go to neighborhood events? We need a better neighborhood storytelling system!
after 2 years in the Mission: Who are my neighbors? Turnover is so high. What’s the best way to integrate into my neighborhood respectfully? How can I start a community garden? 

11:33AM Prompt 4: “Let’s say you could ‘subscribe to your city’ — interpret that any way you want to. What are three things you’d subscribe to?” (3 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):
Endless community playlist
Events: city events open to all, events for community / local groups, decision-making meetings or info sessions by government
Updates on hyperlocalized proposed development (instead of the public notices that are hung up today)
Great neighborhood stories, a quality print periodical
CSA / recipe book
When I should come to give feedback on decisions that affect me
When disruptive things are happening near me (construction, street closures, parks closing, etc.)
Local wins in a non-PR-y way
Photos / videos of local attractions
Things that affect my transit route (i.e. new bike paths)
Public art we can be involved in, local civic artists / hackers looking to collaborate

Special thanks to Jeff, Preston, Livien, Matt, Hannah, and Andrew for letting us storm your brains. Team Charlotte also understands that the six of them (while brilliant) represent only a small subsection of the microcosm that is SF, so we plan to expand our inquiry in Charlotte and elsewhere as appropriate. 
-Tiffany

What’s it like to move into a new neighborhood?

One area we’re exploring is how to improve the “new neighbor experience.” To blow up this question a bit, we did a 45-minute rapid fire brainstorm yesterday at CfA HQ to see what ideas might come out. Here’s how it went:

11:00AM Prompt 1: “Think back to the last time you moved to a new city. On your very first day, what are three things that you wanted to know about your new neighborhood?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):

  • what is _____ nearby? (public transit, grocery store, library, cleanest laundromat, green space, coffee shop, book store)
  • what are unsafe areas?
  • what are the local spots? the best hangout? good food?
  • who lives here? (friends, neighbors?) is there a way to engage with my neighbors (online)?
  • is there a community center?
  • where can I go to job / be outside?

11:11AM Prompt 2: “Think back to your first week in your new neighborhood and how you tried to orient yourself to your surroundings. What are three things that you had trouble finding information about?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):

  • Fair prices of everything
  • Understanding public transit, knowing to get a clipper card
  • Community members for all folks / more chill folks
  • Meeting neighbors
  • Where to find networks of people I’m a part of already?
  • How is my neighborhood perceived by others in the city? What is the characterization of my neighborhood from neighbors?
  • What do my neighbors care about? What are the issues that affect my community?
  • Running routes, bike lanes
  • Best bodegas
  • Community meetings for all folks

11:22AM Prompt 3: “Now think about where you are today. What are three unanswered questions you still have about your neighborhood?” (2 min)

Discussion + findings (8 min):

  • after 3.5 weeks in Hayes Valley: Who is the ‘mayor’ (go-to person who knows a lot of stuff about the area)? What community groups are there? Where is non-consumer art/music?
  • after 2-3 months in Russian Hill/Nob Hill: Is there a neighborhood organization? What events are happening specifically in my area? What are the actual boundaries of my neighborhood (to help me identify?)
  • after 9 months in the Mission: What neighbors have similar interests (potential friends)? Development - what’s this construction for? Upcoming street fairs?
  • after 1 year in Oakland: Who are the change agents? Why does no one go to neighborhood events? We need a better neighborhood storytelling system!
  • after 2 years in the Mission: Who are my neighbors? Turnover is so high. What’s the best way to integrate into my neighborhood respectfully? How can I start a community garden? 

11:33AM Prompt 4: “Let’s say you could ‘subscribe to your city’ — interpret that any way you want to. What are three things you’d subscribe to?” (3 min)

Discussion + findings (9 min):

  • Endless community playlist
  • Events: city events open to all, events for community / local groups, decision-making meetings or info sessions by government
  • Updates on hyperlocalized proposed development (instead of the public notices that are hung up today)
  • Great neighborhood stories, a quality print periodical
  • CSA / recipe book
  • When I should come to give feedback on decisions that affect me
  • When disruptive things are happening near me (construction, street closures, parks closing, etc.)
  • Local wins in a non-PR-y way
  • Photos / videos of local attractions
  • Things that affect my transit route (i.e. new bike paths)
  • Public art we can be involved in, local civic artists / hackers looking to collaborate

Special thanks to Jeff, Preston, Livien, Matt, Hannah, and Andrew for letting us storm your brains. Team Charlotte also understands that the six of them (while brilliant) represent only a small subsection of the microcosm that is SF, so we plan to expand our inquiry in Charlotte and elsewhere as appropriate. 

-Tiffany

Ideating with the Civic Tech Idea Canvas
So we have all of these ideas on sticky notes strewn across the wall. How do we process them, narrow down, and really dig in to what each one means?
Danny, Andrew, and I started out with scrawling bullet point problem statements + possible solutions for each idea, but that didn’t seem to be enough —  it left us still feeling murky and confused about some of the meatier, more complex ideas.
We really needed a way to distill what might be floating around in each of our heads into a common one-page, essence of the idea — for our team to align, as well as our city partners to understand. We also wanted to make sure that we were building out and evaluating each idea in a structured, systematic way. Modeling off of Lean Canvas and drawing inspiration from Business Model Generation, we decided to design our own framework for building out ideas for civic tech.
We did a first pass of our Civic Tech Idea Canvas via whiteboard + sticky notes.
Then we did a second iteration digitally.
Here are the components (left side helps to frame the product; right side helps to frame the citizen user):
Problem
Solution
Key Metrics
Value Proposition
Stakeholders
Target User
Channels
Resources Needed
Some other teams have been trying it out (woohoo! here is the illustrator version if you’d like to edit it), and it’s still a work in progress. As always, open to feedback.
Ideating with the Civic Tech Idea Canvas
So we have all of these ideas on sticky notes strewn across the wall. How do we process them, narrow down, and really dig in to what each one means?
Danny, Andrew, and I started out with scrawling bullet point problem statements + possible solutions for each idea, but that didn’t seem to be enough —  it left us still feeling murky and confused about some of the meatier, more complex ideas.
We really needed a way to distill what might be floating around in each of our heads into a common one-page, essence of the idea — for our team to align, as well as our city partners to understand. We also wanted to make sure that we were building out and evaluating each idea in a structured, systematic way. Modeling off of Lean Canvas and drawing inspiration from Business Model Generation, we decided to design our own framework for building out ideas for civic tech.
We did a first pass of our Civic Tech Idea Canvas via whiteboard + sticky notes.
Then we did a second iteration digitally.
Here are the components (left side helps to frame the product; right side helps to frame the citizen user):
Problem
Solution
Key Metrics
Value Proposition
Stakeholders
Target User
Channels
Resources Needed
Some other teams have been trying it out (woohoo! here is the illustrator version if you’d like to edit it), and it’s still a work in progress. As always, open to feedback.
Ideating with the Civic Tech Idea Canvas
So we have all of these ideas on sticky notes strewn across the wall. How do we process them, narrow down, and really dig in to what each one means?
Danny, Andrew, and I started out with scrawling bullet point problem statements + possible solutions for each idea, but that didn’t seem to be enough —  it left us still feeling murky and confused about some of the meatier, more complex ideas.
We really needed a way to distill what might be floating around in each of our heads into a common one-page, essence of the idea — for our team to align, as well as our city partners to understand. We also wanted to make sure that we were building out and evaluating each idea in a structured, systematic way. Modeling off of Lean Canvas and drawing inspiration from Business Model Generation, we decided to design our own framework for building out ideas for civic tech.
We did a first pass of our Civic Tech Idea Canvas via whiteboard + sticky notes.
Then we did a second iteration digitally.
Here are the components (left side helps to frame the product; right side helps to frame the citizen user):
Problem
Solution
Key Metrics
Value Proposition
Stakeholders
Target User
Channels
Resources Needed
Some other teams have been trying it out (woohoo! here is the illustrator version if you’d like to edit it), and it’s still a work in progress. As always, open to feedback.
Ideating with the Civic Tech Idea Canvas
So we have all of these ideas on sticky notes strewn across the wall. How do we process them, narrow down, and really dig in to what each one means?
Danny, Andrew, and I started out with scrawling bullet point problem statements + possible solutions for each idea, but that didn’t seem to be enough —  it left us still feeling murky and confused about some of the meatier, more complex ideas.
We really needed a way to distill what might be floating around in each of our heads into a common one-page, essence of the idea — for our team to align, as well as our city partners to understand. We also wanted to make sure that we were building out and evaluating each idea in a structured, systematic way. Modeling off of Lean Canvas and drawing inspiration from Business Model Generation, we decided to design our own framework for building out ideas for civic tech.
We did a first pass of our Civic Tech Idea Canvas via whiteboard + sticky notes.
Then we did a second iteration digitally.
Here are the components (left side helps to frame the product; right side helps to frame the citizen user):
Problem
Solution
Key Metrics
Value Proposition
Stakeholders
Target User
Channels
Resources Needed
Some other teams have been trying it out (woohoo! here is the illustrator version if you’d like to edit it), and it’s still a work in progress. As always, open to feedback.

Ideating with the Civic Tech Idea Canvas

So we have all of these ideas on sticky notes strewn across the wall. How do we process them, narrow down, and really dig in to what each one means?

Danny, Andrew, and I started out with scrawling bullet point problem statements + possible solutions for each idea, but that didn’t seem to be enough —  it left us still feeling murky and confused about some of the meatier, more complex ideas.

We really needed a way to distill what might be floating around in each of our heads into a common one-page, essence of the idea — for our team to align, as well as our city partners to understand. We also wanted to make sure that we were building out and evaluating each idea in a structured, systematic way. Modeling off of Lean Canvas and drawing inspiration from Business Model Generation, we decided to design our own framework for building out ideas for civic tech.

We did a first pass of our Civic Tech Idea Canvas via whiteboard + sticky notes.

Then we did a second iteration digitally.

Here are the components (left side helps to frame the product; right side helps to frame the citizen user):

  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Key Metrics
  • Value Proposition
  • Stakeholders
  • Target User
  • Channels
  • Resources Needed

Some other teams have been trying it out (woohoo! here is the illustrator version if you’d like to edit it), and it’s still a work in progress. As always, open to feedback.

Back on the west coast

We arrived back in San Francisco last week and have been overcoming our dependency on fried chicken and grits.

We wrapped up last month with over 60 meetings under our belt (30+ different departments at the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 17 neighborhood associations, 8 citizen interviews, 7 nonprofits, and more). We’ve been working through all of the project ideas that have emerged, and are now refining ideas under three areas: neighborhoods, planning, and transparency.

For a closer look at how our research has led us to this point, check out our team’s February Residency Update. (For those of you who attended our Lunch-and-Learn on Feb 27, this will look a tad familiar.) Our next visit to Charlotte will likely be in April. Stay tuned!

-Tiffany

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak in front of Charlotte City Council’s Monday evening meeting. City Manager Ron Carlee introduced us, and Andrew told our story (hat tip to Deborah for the screenshot via livestream). As a first-time council meeting go-er, here are a few things that struck me:
ANYONE can speak at the Citizens’ Forum. Anyone! You can call in or sign up online. First come, first served. (Unless you have spoken already in the previous 12 months; then you can still speak, but you are moved to the end of the line or waitlist.)
People spoke about things that really mattered to them. Accountability of public officials, the competition and RFP process for control of the parking business at Charlotte’s airport, a neighborhood’s concern about an area not being properly zoned, an invitation to the Black Film Festival, two individual accounts of assault relating to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and more.
It’s time-intensive. Can be a little boring. If you’re speaking or on the agenda, you really have no idea how long the items before you will last, so there’s a fair bit of waiting around. Folks often try to sneak out right after they present. We were wondering, what can be done to make these meetings more fun? Maybe each speaker can project 5 images to go with their presentation? Maybe a backchannel discussion? Maybe a disco ball or half-time music break.
City council meetings are an example of grand, formal civic design. Everyone’s suited up and there are specific places that staff vs. citizens are supposed to sit. The councilmembers sit in beautiful plushy chairs in a semi-circle. Many people who are speaking usually print their notes out, bring it to the podium, and read off of it. The podium faces the council semi-circle, not the citizens or rest of the audience. The meeting chamber itself seems to be designed to elicit confidence in your elected officials and make you feel in awe of (or maybe even intimidated by) the democratic process at work.
Overall, pretty fascinating. Kinda makes me want to experience what council meetings are like in cities all over.
-Tiffany
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak in front of Charlotte City Council’s Monday evening meeting. City Manager Ron Carlee introduced us, and Andrew told our story (hat tip to Deborah for the screenshot via livestream). As a first-time council meeting go-er, here are a few things that struck me:
ANYONE can speak at the Citizens’ Forum. Anyone! You can call in or sign up online. First come, first served. (Unless you have spoken already in the previous 12 months; then you can still speak, but you are moved to the end of the line or waitlist.)
People spoke about things that really mattered to them. Accountability of public officials, the competition and RFP process for control of the parking business at Charlotte’s airport, a neighborhood’s concern about an area not being properly zoned, an invitation to the Black Film Festival, two individual accounts of assault relating to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and more.
It’s time-intensive. Can be a little boring. If you’re speaking or on the agenda, you really have no idea how long the items before you will last, so there’s a fair bit of waiting around. Folks often try to sneak out right after they present. We were wondering, what can be done to make these meetings more fun? Maybe each speaker can project 5 images to go with their presentation? Maybe a backchannel discussion? Maybe a disco ball or half-time music break.
City council meetings are an example of grand, formal civic design. Everyone’s suited up and there are specific places that staff vs. citizens are supposed to sit. The councilmembers sit in beautiful plushy chairs in a semi-circle. Many people who are speaking usually print their notes out, bring it to the podium, and read off of it. The podium faces the council semi-circle, not the citizens or rest of the audience. The meeting chamber itself seems to be designed to elicit confidence in your elected officials and make you feel in awe of (or maybe even intimidated by) the democratic process at work.
Overall, pretty fascinating. Kinda makes me want to experience what council meetings are like in cities all over.
-Tiffany
Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak in front of Charlotte City Council’s Monday evening meeting. City Manager Ron Carlee introduced us, and Andrew told our story (hat tip to Deborah for the screenshot via livestream). As a first-time council meeting go-er, here are a few things that struck me:
ANYONE can speak at the Citizens’ Forum. Anyone! You can call in or sign up online. First come, first served. (Unless you have spoken already in the previous 12 months; then you can still speak, but you are moved to the end of the line or waitlist.)
People spoke about things that really mattered to them. Accountability of public officials, the competition and RFP process for control of the parking business at Charlotte’s airport, a neighborhood’s concern about an area not being properly zoned, an invitation to the Black Film Festival, two individual accounts of assault relating to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and more.
It’s time-intensive. Can be a little boring. If you’re speaking or on the agenda, you really have no idea how long the items before you will last, so there’s a fair bit of waiting around. Folks often try to sneak out right after they present. We were wondering, what can be done to make these meetings more fun? Maybe each speaker can project 5 images to go with their presentation? Maybe a backchannel discussion? Maybe a disco ball or half-time music break.
City council meetings are an example of grand, formal civic design. Everyone’s suited up and there are specific places that staff vs. citizens are supposed to sit. The councilmembers sit in beautiful plushy chairs in a semi-circle. Many people who are speaking usually print their notes out, bring it to the podium, and read off of it. The podium faces the council semi-circle, not the citizens or rest of the audience. The meeting chamber itself seems to be designed to elicit confidence in your elected officials and make you feel in awe of (or maybe even intimidated by) the democratic process at work.
Overall, pretty fascinating. Kinda makes me want to experience what council meetings are like in cities all over.
-Tiffany

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to speak in front of Charlotte City Council’s Monday evening meeting. City Manager Ron Carlee introduced us, and Andrew told our story (hat tip to Deborah for the screenshot via livestream). As a first-time council meeting go-er, here are a few things that struck me:

  • ANYONE can speak at the Citizens’ Forum. Anyone! You can call in or sign up online. First come, first served. (Unless you have spoken already in the previous 12 months; then you can still speak, but you are moved to the end of the line or waitlist.)
  • People spoke about things that really mattered to them. Accountability of public officials, the competition and RFP process for control of the parking business at Charlotte’s airport, a neighborhood’s concern about an area not being properly zoned, an invitation to the Black Film Festival, two individual accounts of assault relating to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and more.
  • It’s time-intensive. Can be a little boring. If you’re speaking or on the agenda, you really have no idea how long the items before you will last, so there’s a fair bit of waiting around. Folks often try to sneak out right after they present. We were wondering, what can be done to make these meetings more fun? Maybe each speaker can project 5 images to go with their presentation? Maybe a backchannel discussion? Maybe a disco ball or half-time music break.
  • City council meetings are an example of grand, formal civic design. Everyone’s suited up and there are specific places that staff vs. citizens are supposed to sit. The councilmembers sit in beautiful plushy chairs in a semi-circle. Many people who are speaking usually print their notes out, bring it to the podium, and read off of it. The podium faces the council semi-circle, not the citizens or rest of the audience. The meeting chamber itself seems to be designed to elicit confidence in your elected officials and make you feel in awe of (or maybe even intimidated by) the democratic process at work.

Overall, pretty fascinating. Kinda makes me want to experience what council meetings are like in cities all over.

-Tiffany

On Saturday we attended the Neighborhood Board Retreat, an annual event put on by the City’s Neighborhood and Business Services Department. Seventeen neighborhoods from around Charlotte sent representatives to participate in facilitated discussion and planning meetings aimed at improving the quality of life for residents.
The event was an opportunity for us to meet with and listen to engaged citizens speak openly about the problems their communities are facing. Topics ranged from community involvement to code enforcement to online tools.
I was inspired by the group from Grier Heights in particular. They developed a vision statement for their neighborhood to encompass both its rich history and a call to action for current residents:

Grier Heights Community: Continuing to make history by empowering people to give back, to educate, to live with a purpose.

After the words finally came together, the three women (whose families had lived in Grier Heights for multiple generations) cheered and one of them even jumped up in a celebratory dance.
Kudos to the neighborhood reps and NBS team (citizens and government) for working together and strengthening the City of Charlotte.
- Danny
On Saturday we attended the Neighborhood Board Retreat, an annual event put on by the City’s Neighborhood and Business Services Department. Seventeen neighborhoods from around Charlotte sent representatives to participate in facilitated discussion and planning meetings aimed at improving the quality of life for residents.
The event was an opportunity for us to meet with and listen to engaged citizens speak openly about the problems their communities are facing. Topics ranged from community involvement to code enforcement to online tools.
I was inspired by the group from Grier Heights in particular. They developed a vision statement for their neighborhood to encompass both its rich history and a call to action for current residents:

Grier Heights Community: Continuing to make history by empowering people to give back, to educate, to live with a purpose.

After the words finally came together, the three women (whose families had lived in Grier Heights for multiple generations) cheered and one of them even jumped up in a celebratory dance.
Kudos to the neighborhood reps and NBS team (citizens and government) for working together and strengthening the City of Charlotte.
- Danny
On Saturday we attended the Neighborhood Board Retreat, an annual event put on by the City’s Neighborhood and Business Services Department. Seventeen neighborhoods from around Charlotte sent representatives to participate in facilitated discussion and planning meetings aimed at improving the quality of life for residents.
The event was an opportunity for us to meet with and listen to engaged citizens speak openly about the problems their communities are facing. Topics ranged from community involvement to code enforcement to online tools.
I was inspired by the group from Grier Heights in particular. They developed a vision statement for their neighborhood to encompass both its rich history and a call to action for current residents:

Grier Heights Community: Continuing to make history by empowering people to give back, to educate, to live with a purpose.

After the words finally came together, the three women (whose families had lived in Grier Heights for multiple generations) cheered and one of them even jumped up in a celebratory dance.
Kudos to the neighborhood reps and NBS team (citizens and government) for working together and strengthening the City of Charlotte.
- Danny

On Saturday we attended the Neighborhood Board Retreat, an annual event put on by the City’s Neighborhood and Business Services Department. Seventeen neighborhoods from around Charlotte sent representatives to participate in facilitated discussion and planning meetings aimed at improving the quality of life for residents.

The event was an opportunity for us to meet with and listen to engaged citizens speak openly about the problems their communities are facing. Topics ranged from community involvement to code enforcement to online tools.

I was inspired by the group from Grier Heights in particular. They developed a vision statement for their neighborhood to encompass both its rich history and a call to action for current residents:

Grier Heights Community: Continuing to make history by empowering people to give back, to educate, to live with a purpose.

After the words finally came together, the three women (whose families had lived in Grier Heights for multiple generations) cheered and one of them even jumped up in a celebratory dance.

Kudos to the neighborhood reps and NBS team (citizens and government) for working together and strengthening the City of Charlotte.

- Danny