2023 Crowdsourced Conversations start with March survey

An August 2022 Crowdsourced Conversation on community safety. [photo: Sarah Wolf]

FutureHeights is at the beginning phases of planning the 2023 edition of Crowdsourced Conversations, a discussion-based forum series that premiered in 2022. It was created in response to feedback that residents wanted more connection and follow up after a community event. Organizers initiated this series to provide Heights residents and stakeholders with a space in which to have action-oriented discussions about communitywide topics.

Participants and organizers alike enthusiastically agreed that Crowdsourced Conversations should continue in 2023, so FutureHeights asked for suggestions for topics.

Nearly 50 ideas emerged, and a Heightswide survey narrowed it down to the top four: Perceptions vs. Reality of our Schools; Re-Thinking the Roads as Community Space, Not Just for Cars; Rental Properties and Absent/Negligent Landlords; and Planning and Development in the Heights.

While specifics about dates and locations are still to be determined, program organizers are looking to hold the first event, on the topic of Perception vs. Reality of our Schools, at the end of April. The second event will be at the end of June, the third at the end of August, and the fourth at the end of October.

The survey related to Perception vs. Reality of our Schools aims to launch March 1 and conclude March 31. All community members are encouraged to fill out the survey, including young people. More information about the survey can be found on the FutureHeights website, www.futureheights.org, and social media channels. 

In 2022, FutureHeights partnered with Home Repair Resource Center, the Cleveland Heights Green Team, the City of Cleveland Heights Racial Justice Task Force, the Racial Inequity Repair Committee of Forest Hill Church, representatives of Cleveland Heights City Council, and more, to plan and produce each forum.

Topics included sustainability, housing and neighborhood preservation, community safety, and civic engagement. Each had a pre-forum survey that was broadly circulated in Cleveland Heights and University Heights for approximately three weeks. Survey results, which received 122–272 responses per topic, were then used to formulate questions for Crowdsourced Conversations small-group discussions. Additionally, reports were created from each survey and can be accessed on the FutureHeights website.

Events attracted 30–60 attendees; each opened with brief remarks, then participants spent the bulk of the program engaged in action-oriented conversations with their group members. Each group had a facilitator and a notetaker who provided the group’s notes and additional information at the event's conclusion, so participants could refer back to ideas that emerged, and have the ability to stay in touch. 

Any participant who attended multiple Crowdsourced Conversations events also reconnected with their group, continuing to get to know one another and community-build. Additionally, FutureHeights created resource pages following each event, highlighting the action steps identified by event participants, information about the topic, survey results, and more.

FutureHeights is pleased to be partnering with all of the same groups as last year, and welcomes Reaching Heights and Heights Libraries to the 2023 Crowdsourced Conversations planning committee.

Follow the FutureHeights Facebook and Instagram pages for updates about event dates and locations, as well as each topic’s pre-event survey. Learn more about the program on the FutureHeights website, or by sending an e-mail to swolf@futureheights.org.

Sarah Wolf

Sarah Wolf is the community-building programs manager at FutureHeights.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 10:18 AM, 02.28.2023