Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Illustration of government and design thinking: Boston's City Hall to Go truck

Last May, I wrote a piece, "All the talk of e-government, digital government, and open source government is really about employing the design method," that made the point that what matters most in terms of government agencies adopting social media and mobile applications is that it isn't the delivery ("marketing channel") that matters as much as it is about responsiveness and willingness to be engaged from and by citizens on the citizen's terms.

While it is an illustration of adopting more innovative techniques and does not necessarily reflect a change in how government organizes itself, the City of Boston's "City Hall on the Go" outreach truck, modeled after food trucks, is an innovative information delivery method that at the very least is a step forward along the design method framework.  See "Boston City Hall To Go Truck Follows Food Truck Trend" from Government Technology and
"City Hall services go mobile" from the Boston Globe.

Note that more recently, I came across the book Designing for Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design.  The method as proposed is applicable not just to "graphic" design but the creation and maintenance of programs and inititives.

And there are also important books about specific campaigns and materials such as the book Designing for the Greater Good: The Best in Cause-Related Marketing and Nonprofit Design. This matters a lot because so much of the marketing by government agencies and nonprofit organization is not very good.  I am sure that there are way more books in this area than I know about.

And of course there is the field of social marketing, which is focused on engendering behavior changes.

In my approach to planning I work to incorporate the design method, social marketing, branding and identity systems, and program delivery into integrated systems, which I call Action Planning.  (No doubt I have been influenced by the social psychological-organizational behavior approach called "action research.")
Slide, action planning as systems integration

But there is also the point about creating the right kind of organizational and/or programmatic "choice architecture" as discussed in the book Nudge (review from the Economist Magazine), "Empirically Informed Regulation," University of Chicago Law Review, 2011).

Anyway, if you want the "back story" of how I think about social change, these books illustrate of the building blocks.

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