The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recently recognized the City of Eugene’s LittleRed and the Pop-up Tour (see video) as part of the 2017 Bright Ideas in Government initiative.
Little Red and the Pop-up Tour took traditional community engagement and turned it on its head. Rather than holding workshops and open houses, the staff team leading the Parks and Recreation System Plan were determined to go to the people, where they would already be. With that in mind, Little Red spontaneously popped up at 40 community hubs throughout Eugene at events, parks and retail parking lots,successfully reaching more than 4,000 residents in its first two summers of operation. Participants enjoyed photo and story-telling booths, pedal powered music, children's activities, and free ice cream bars donated by So DeliciousDairy Free.
“We aren’t just trying to be cute, for us it’s about continuously seeking innovative ways to hear from the voices not commonly represented in planning processes, and Little Red was a remarkably successful tool in helping us do just that,” said Carrie Peterson, Parks and Open Space Resources Development Manager.
“These programs demonstrate that there are no prerequisites for doing the good work of governing,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at the Ash Center. “What makes government work best is the drive to do better, and this group proves that drive can be found anywhere.”
Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions. See a full list of Bright Ideas programs and read more about the Innovations in American Government Awards.