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The last POP Toolkit post, in March, mentioned we were looking for a neighborhood to partner with us to Pilot the Toolkit. We found that partner in the Mill City neighborhood, but what has happened in the meantime? Making that announcement revealed to us how much more work still needed to be done -- refining our product and engagement, yes, but also our project definitions.
We had figured out what the Toolkit was and how it worked, but not how to explain it. Our (self-described) “fun and engaging process” was clumsy and awkward to explain or facilitate. We had to go back to the drawing board, where we had long ago stated that the POP Toolkit would structure, visualize, and organize grassroots planning. These principles neatly organize the pieces and parts that make up the Toolkit Process.
The Toolkit structures change by challenging stakeholders to declare a scale of intervention, whether it be the house, the street, the neighborhood or the city. This identifies expectations, a potential audience, and stakeholders.
Livability Measures and Engagement Tools
The Toolkit visualizes change by establishing baseline conditions, contributing factors, and possible solutions to neighborhood concerns. These neighborhood concerns helped us filter global livability research into eight Measures of Livability. The Measures are Density, Form, Use vs. Entitlement, Ownership, Healthy Living Environment, Connectivity, Safety and Cohesion.
Finally, the Toolkit organizes change through twelve Engagement Tools: strategies to convert everyday activities into activism. These are split into three Methods which provide a flexible guide to planning Workshops. The Walk, Meter, List or Web lend themselves to discovering Connections. The Messenger, Gallery, Performance or Meeting are good strategies to share those discoveries. The Act, Garden, Dinner and Plan make a difference. All of the Tools should be used with reflection to deepen the impact and understanding of each step.
The POP Toolkit is, at it's simplest, a way to deploy design thinking as a community organizing Tool. It reflects the process we at bcWORKSHOP use in all our design and making, and puts those skills in neighbor's hands to expand the impact we can make together.