Problem

Current approaches to neighborhood and community engagement when solving civic issues require people to use their preexisting perspectives. This approach does not encourage citizens to see their neighborhoods through different eyes or using new, more empathic perspectives.

A page from the Yellowbricks booklet.

Solution

Yellowbricks is a self-guided journal to help citizens better understand their own perspectives and explore new perspectives of their neighborhoods. The booklet is available for download online, and was also printed in a limited run.

Future versions of Yellowbricks may be tested with community or neighborhood groups to explore additional opportunities for using the self-guided tool. 

Development Process

Liz Kramer conducted immersive research into neighborhood and community planning and decision-making processes. She observed community meetings, spoke to experts, and examined new tools for community engagement.

Liz Kramer using the Yellowbricks booklet.

This information was synthesized to develop opportunity areas within the community engagement process.

New methods were developed based on the research findings. Some methods were tested during an initial project with a west side community in Chicago.

Kramer then focused development on moving towards a self-guided, neighborhood exploration journal. The design and content for the journal were developed and iteratively tested with users around the country to improve and refine the content.