OpenPlans and MAS Community Board Symposium
October 4th, 2012, 6:46 pm
The following article was written by OpenPlans’ Anthony Denaro and appears on their blog. On September 27th, OpenPlans and MAS hosted a symposium about NYC Community Boards and public engagement. The event included a presentation by Naama Lissar from OpenPlans, and a panel discussion exploring new ways for boards to engage their communities. This was an opportunity for boards to share best practices, learn from each other’s experience and think about new ideas to promote public participation. The symposium featured OpenPlans recent work around boards and community participation, including the launch of CommunityBoardTools.org. Naama introduced the website, and talked about how technology can empower boards to help them overcome the participation gap. She demonstrated how boards and engaged citizens can use this online guide to find solutions for engagement needs, explore existing methods, and learn about ideas for new tools – to help engage more people in every aspect of the board’s activity.
The panel highlighted success stories from four boards, thoughts about common participation challenges and plans to overcome them. Panelists included Emilia Crotty (Transportation Committee, Queens CB2), Craig Hammerman (District Manager, Brooklyn CB6), Paimaan Lodhi (former District Manager, Manhattan CB10), and Mel Wymore (former Chair, Manhattan CB7). Raju Mann, Director of Planning at MAS and member of Manhattan CB5, moderated the discussion. Panelists shared some great stories and insight about projects they were involved in at their respective boards –
- Emilia organized a public bike forum, to gather feedback for improving Sunnyside’s bike network
- Craig helped establish the “Friends of CB6”, a non-profit to help the board overcome budget constraints
- Paimaan led the recent historic preservation plan in Harlem
- Mel contributed to the Riverside Center project in the Upper West Side