The Sustainable City Year Program’s year-long partnership with the city of Medford launched over the weekend with a special community engagement and city visioning process with Medford’s Latino community.
Over 100 community members stopped by the SCYP booth at the 20th Annual Greater Medford Multicultural Fair on Saturday to discuss the present and future of their city. The interactive initiative aimed to create a fun, inviting space for dialog about Medford’s future.
The outreach event, which was spearheaded by Department of Planning, Public Policy & Management Professor Gerardo Sandoval, also included innovative artist and urban planner James Rojas. Rojas specializes in using models and fun 3-D objects to engage the public in the planning and design process.
"Often times you will ask someone a question, and they'll say, 'I don't know,'" Rojas told the Medford Mail Tribune. "This allows people to dive deep into their subconscious to express their feelings."
Visitors to the SCYP table constructed their own version of Medford using toys and game pieces on a small-scale model of the city. According to Professor Sandoval, the exercise is especially great for opening up dialog with undocumented immigrants, a community that is often hesitant to attend public planning meetings.
"It’s almost like an ice-breaker, because they start playing with this model, and then people start to open up. They start telling us how they want their community improved. It’s a really great public engagement tool," said Professor Sandoval.
Many members of Medford’s Latino community raised ideas about the city’s library, bike paths, and city-wide social events. UO graduate student Roanel Herrera will now create a full report of the feedback gathered from the event, and share this unique information with both the City of Medford and other SCYP classes.
For more information, check out the Medford Mail Tribune's article about the outreach event.