I think one of the main things I have learned is there is value in taking approaches to planning outside of the standard operating procedures. When we walked up and down Penn Avenue and talked to the people we met we obtained a perspective about the wants and needs of the neighborhood that was different than would be found at a typical community planning engagement meeting. It was interesting to see what people who live, work, and pass through on Penn Avenue think when there is not a meeting agenda, but just a chance to talk informally. I also learned that I really like talking to youth about their thoughts about Penn Avenue and their neighborhood. When we did engagement at the Penn-Lowry intersection we spoke with many people high school age and younger. I was heartened to see how they had views and opinions on what their neighborhood should be, and what could be done to make it happen. As I get older, it is hard for me to remember what I was like at that age, so I thought it wouldn’t be the best use of my time to engage younger people, but I was wrong and now think it is a great idea.
Jim Voll is a Principal Planner for the City of Minneapolis