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Center for Engagement and Community Development

April 12, 2018  

A two-hour participatory forum was held on April 12, 2018 at the Manhattan Public Library.  Unlike public forums led by panels of expert witnesses, this program featured small-group facilitated dialogues designed to engage residents in the topic via personal stories and community-wide observations.   Ninety-five participants were guided in the process by a project team of ten trained facilitators assisted by reporters, who posted notes and collected additional comment sheets from all who attended. 

In addition to viewing the posted discussion notes, participants marked a map of Manhattan to show their various locations and used these points of departure to explain why they chose a particular site, and what they were looking for in a housing situation.  Participants also viewed a gallery of enlarged “persona” posters, a graphic prototype of a renter, landlord, housing advocate, etc., accompanied by quotations from resident interviews collected for months leading up to the forum.  A summary report of the forum contributions was delivered to every participant.

May 4, 2019 

The purpose of the second public forum was to represent multiple sectors of the housing system in Manhattan, and encourage dialogue across individuals and organizations about solutions to housing problems.  The program began with a World Café session encouraging all participants to rotate among tables hosted by local housing organizations and interest groups.  The visits were focused by discussions of value terms that people "bring to the table" in discussing housing.  A compilation of value terms that organizations and individual visitors chose was highlighted after the rotations in order to discover alignments in values and preferences.  The summary report of this forum includes notes from three break-out sessions dedicated to the solutions proposed in 2018 for further study.