Under the leadership of Nicole Lewis, our Community Relations Manager, GHC has been testing a tasty new approach in gathering community input about what residents would like to see take shape at the intersection of Dodson Avenue and Glass Street. During February and March 2018, Nicole has initiated twelve community input design sessions engaging 200 neighbors in the East Chattanooga area. Building on the input gained during 2017 Glass Street LIVE, the process focused on partnering with community leaders, neighborhood associations, local elementary schools, and neighbors.
While larger meetings were hosted by Councilwoman Coonrod, Orchard Knob Elementary Community School PTA, and The Recreation Centers. Smaller meetings were hosted by neighbors who hosted streetscaping feedback dinners in their own homes. These meetings engaged neighbors who wouldn’t normally go to a community meeting.
Glass House Collective had the opportunity to invest dollars in neighbors to host the streetscaping dinners, instigating a flow of welcome and pride through sharing hospitality with friends new and old. Over 50 neighbors participated in the dinners. Many of these neighbors had never previously engaged in traditional meetings and had no interest in doing so, but were grateful to be engaged in a non-traditional manner.
The artistic process for gathering feedback was created and facilitated by 800 Collective’s Josiah Golson and Mary Ann Twitty. Shawana Kendrick, who was an assistant facilitator in the 2014 community input sessions centered around the North Chamberlain and Glass St. intersection, was hired to help with facilitation of the larger meetings.
Stay tuned for their collected analysis of the shared space our neighbors would most care about. Our common public space comes alive only to the extent that we view it as a shared resource in which as many neighbors as possible participate, and understand the difference design makes for everybody.