On November 27, over 300 people packed Tuscaloosa’s River Market for Forum on the Future. This was the first public opportunity to learn about the City’s comprehensive planning process, Framework, and to share ideas about the future of the community. Key public sentiments shared with staff—about the event—included “it was an inclusive meeting,” “thoughtful,” and “well organized.” Mayor Maddox of Tuscaloosa thought it was one of the best public meetings he had ever attended.
“I can’t say enough about tonight’s Forum on the Future. It was thoughtful, inclusive and time very well-spent with a diverse cross-section of this great community. Kudos to Mayor Walt Maddox and the forward-thinking team at Tuscaloosa City.” – Jim Page, Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama President
During the 2-hour workshop, participants worked individually and in small groups on three activities. First was a trivia game called “So you think you know Tuscaloosa” in which groups competed to answer seven multiple choice questions about past planning efforts, current demographic, economic, housing, and environmental conditions. Each answer was followed by additional context and related facts.
The second activity involved individual evaluation of nine initial themes that were drafted from past plans, stakeholder group interviews, and input from the Framework Steering Committee. Participants used either their personal smartphone or a paper form to rate how important they thought each topic was for the future and how well it was being addressed today. Over 175 participants used their smartphones and saw results in real time.
The final activity was a small group discussion of ideas to the prompt: “what do you think is essential to consider in shaping a plan for Tuscaloosa?” The conversations the tables had were engaged, entertaining, and illuminating. Table leaders that included the Steering Committee and other volunteers helped facilitate and record the groups’ ideas.
To learning more about the Framework process, visit: http://framework.tuscaloosa.com/