Using coUrbanize Engagement Platform, Cambridge Seeks to Ensure A ‘Process Driven by Community Engagement,’ says Mayor
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 9, 2022 — The search for the new City Manager of Cambridge has gone viral — by design. To give residents and other stakeholders a voice in the search, the City of Cambridge is soliciting their feedback through coUrbanize, a community engagement platform.
The dedicated coUrbanize site, launched on February 1, already had attracted more than 1,600 comments as of February 8th. Many respondents are emphasizing the need for a City Manager who prioritizes affordability and inclusion, says Karin Brandt, CEO and founder of coUrbanize. Cambridge, which is home to Harvard and MIT and a biotech hub, will use the comments to develop a job description and identify the top qualifications for the position, which becomes vacant in July when incumbent Louis A. DePasquale retires.
“We want this process to be defined by listening and accessibility,” says Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. “Being able to utilize the coUrbanize site and gather feedback directly from residents has been a huge success so far. Along with our executive search firm that residents can contact to give feedback, a series of focus groups and a hybrid town hall meeting on February 16th, we’re ensuring that the City Manager search process is driven by community input.”
On the coUrbanize site, commenters are weighing in on the ideal characteristics of the new City Manager and the most important challenges to be addressed. Many commenters have identified the key challenges as affordable housing, demographic diversification, walkability, public transportation, bike infrastructure, and climate change.
“Cambridge is doing something truly groundbreaking because there is a direct link between the comments and the evolution of the search,” Brandt states. “The City is effectively giving residents and stakeholders the power to shape their communities beyond voting in elections. It’s a new model for other municipalities to follow.”
She adds: “coUrbanize is based in Cambridge, so we’re not just the site host, but also a stakeholder. And we appreciate the opportunity to have a say in matters that will affect our business in the future.”
coUrbanize gives people a way to share their feedback and have a voice in a development or public planning process without having to go to a meeting – by simply posting a comment online or texting in their ideas — and having a two-way dialogue with the project team. More than 500 development and real estate teams have used coUrbanize to scale public outreach in a more inclusive way, have more productive conversations with the community, and ultimately build critical support for their projects. For more information, please visit cour.loc.
SOURCE coUrbanize, Inc.