How can we better engage low-income millennials in city planning?

That’s the question on our minds as we prepare to start work with Louisville, KY. In a project announced today, we’re partnering with Living Cities to investigate how tech can broaden engagement in planning and beyond.

From Louisville’s press release:

Living Cities and OpenPlans, its technology partner, will work with city officials, community leaders and residents, and stakeholders to develop and deploy a new technology tool that will encourage increased civic engagement between the city and low-income millennials. The work will be done in tandem with the city’s Vision Plan, which seeks to guide future development and investment while emphasizing growth, authenticity, preservation, sustainability, and quality of place.

Arthur Burris from Living Cities shares some thoughts on The Catalyst:

An important part of our work around civic tech will be learning by doing: We are now beginning work to develop a tech solution focused on deepening the engagement of low-income people in city planning. We believe that the issue of planning is particularly ripe for civic tech innovation, as the growing number of civic apps in this space attests. Furthermore, city plans can attract public attention and, potentially, form the basis for more sustained interaction between cities and city residents.

In practice, unfortunately, cities often struggle to engage productively and systematically with their low-income residents around these plans. Many traditional mechanisms for engagement around planning (e.g., planning meetings) tend to reach small numbers of people who are not representative of low-income communities as a whole. Despite the recent growth of civic apps focused on planning, we’re still far from having a full set of tech tools that supports engagement in a truly systematic way

Read more about the project on the Living Cities blog, and stay tuned for updates from us as we start work.