In April, I had the pleasure of presenting with fellow urbanists and writers at the 2015 National Planning Conference in Seattle. Our panel, “Planning with Grassroots Media”, sought to enlighten city planners on how local blogs and neighborhood websites can greatly improve planning processes and boost public participation. The audience was spilling out the door and we had some great questions, so the presentation and audio recording are now being made available in this post.
Listen to just the audio or view it with our slideshow on YouTube.
You can also download the slideshow here (PDF).
My fellow panelists were: Nick Welch, planner at the Seattle Department of Planning and Development; Owen Pickford, Executive Director of The Urbanist; and Josh Feit, founding editor of Publicola. I discussed how planners can start their blogs for the benefit of their own careers and their community. Nick shared local examples of grassroots media benefiting local projects, including the University District upzone and the movement for a light rail station at NE 130th Street. Owen described grassroots media as the bridge between lay people and experts, and why planners should get involved. And Josh discussed the differences between how the mainstream media and grassroots media report on nerdy planning issues.
Thanks to Owen for quickly getting on board with my proposal last year, and to Nick and Josh for joining us with such short notice but continued interest. By sharing our presentation with those who weren’t able to make it to the conference we hope we can develop the conversation on grassroots media and the evolving nature of public participation in city planning.
Scott Bonjukian is a car-free urban designer with a passion for sustainable and efficient cities. With degrees in architecture and urban planning, his many interests include neighborhood design, public space and street design, transit systems, pedestrian and bicycle planning, local politics, and natural resource protection. He primarily cross-posts from his blog at The Northwest Urbanist and advocates for a variety of progressive land use and transportation solutions.