Madison has not been very successful at motivating residents of color to get involved in the urban planning process.
That's why Imagine Madison, an interactive public-listening campaign that will inform the city’s future planning efforts, aims to engage residents who are not typically involved in the city’s public process with community-led panels.
Madison planner Colin Punt said the city recognizes its shortcomings in reaching diverse populations, which led to partnerships with a dozen community organizations that represent communities historically underrepresented in city processes.
“It cuts out the bureaucracy that’s inherent with meetings and enables these communities that don’t participate in the planning processes to be more comfortable,” Punt said.
Some of the community partners include Centro Hispano, Vera Court Neighborhood Center, Hmong Professional Networking and the Young Gifted & Black Coalition.
One example of these partnerships is Madison architect Mike Ford’s Hip-Hop Architecture Camp. Over a series of four Saturdays in February, young Madison residents met and created bold and innovative ideas for the city.
Punt said the campaign does not require involved community groups to track who is participating.
“We’ll use this information to tweak our outreach efforts to find groups that are missing from the community conversation,” Punt said.
The participating organizations compile information from residents and report back to the city. At the end of the Imagine Madison campaign, which is expected to finish next spring, the city will publish an updated comprehensive plan draft.
Punt said the planning department is looking to create an action plan to guide decision making and investment with input from the Imagine Madison campaign.
“(The current plan) kind of reads as a big menu of things that we as a city could do, and it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance,” Punt said. “We’re really going to concentrate on prioritizing the strategies and action, so instead of having a long list of things we could possible do. we’ve identified the things we should do.”
Madison’s comprehensive plan looks 20 years to the future and sets guidelines for future city actions. The comprehensive plan is updated every ten years.
The next four community meetings will feature discussions on how residents think the city should grow and change and actions that will help the city achieve goals for the community. Upcoming scheduled events:
- April 25 at Warner Park Community Recreation Center at 6 p.m.
- April 27 at Cherokee Heights Middle School at 6 p.m.
- May 1 the downtown Central Library at 6 p.m.
- May 3 La Follette High School at 6 p.m.