This story from CityLab is really about Idea Friendly cities, even though they don’t know that. They thought it was about a city that wanted to try something new with their traffic pattern:
“Instead of starting with a plan on paper, city officials just went out one week in December and stuck cones along a one-mile stretch of Broadway. It was an unorthodox approach; they skipped the traditional process of community outreach with a paper plan in advance. If it didn’t work out, they’d just take the cones back.”
See, that’s Idea Friendly. Start by testing in a tiny way. Learn from that test. Try another test. Keep learning and trying.
The old way is write a plan, get public input, make tiny adjustments, rewrite the plan, get outside expert opinion, talk to every other town that’s trying something, get held up by the “we tried that once” crowd, decide on a single course of action and implement on a big scale all at once.
The new Idea Friendly way is to test. Now. Tiny.
Those officials in the CityLab story have probably never heard of Idea Friendly. But they’re using Idea Friendly principles.
“The pilot was the process,” Everett city planner Jay Monty said.
Interestingly, the CityLab story said “That sort of approach wouldn’t fly in all cities, ‘but it can in certain places.'”
I’m going to say small towns like yours are exactly the sort of places where this approach works.
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