The North Wilkesboro design team completed their Action Lab on Tuesday, February 20. This third and final Raising Places workshop brought the team together to incorporate prototype feedback, visualize their concepts, host a community event and plan pilots of their most promising ideas.

In the twelve weeks leading up to this milestone, design team members spent time creating, sharing and iterating their visual prototypes. This meant showing pictures of their concepts to both people who might benefit from the ideas and those who might be able to help implement them. The team even created a 3D prototype of a concept designed to combat hunger:

A prototype of a satellite location that would expand access to a local food bank, designed by N. Wilkesboro design team member Junior Goforth.

At the lab, the design team reviewed participant feedback and made some tough decisions about which concepts to keep, cut or combine. Then, they quickly got to work on communicating each idea, including a name, photo, description, features and a roadmap for implementation. All this information went onto large concept posters, which were displayed at the community event.

Design team member Debbie Ferguson drafts a concept description (left) to place on the concept poster (right) for her group's idea to improve connections to key destinations in town.

The concepts from this design team include the following:

Incentive Program to Attract Walkable Development

A set of marketing tools that can be used to attract walkable and equitable development.

Marketing Program for WTA Shuttles and Stops

A marketing program for WTA shuttles that generates revenue to support increased services and routes.

Improved Connections to Key Destinations

A set of strategies that prioritize the connection of key destinations to make them walkable.

Home Environment Mini Grants for Families

A small grant program for low-income families that funds low-cost improvement projects.

Home Revitalization Program

A low-interest loan program that assists property owners to repair and update homes in North Wilkesboro.

Second Harvest Extension

An extension of the Second Harvest Food Bank that brings brings the services of the food bank to a more central location.

Mobile Food Service

A mobile food service that brings healthy food options to various locations around North Wilkesboro.

Hunger Coalition

An organized coalition that brings together local food organizations to coordinate efforts around community food access, health and nutrition.

Healthy Cooking on a Budget program

An educational program that teaches people about budgeting for and cooking healthy food.

Some of these concepts are novel ideas, while others are tried-and-true solutions. Either way, the team knows that these ideas are right for their community, right now. Each concept came out of research with residents and stakeholders, was co-created through community brainstorming, and has been grown and shaped by many rounds of feedback and iteration.

Convener Heather Murphy of The Health Foundation, Inc. presents an overview of the N. Wilkesboro design team's work to town residents (left); design team member Greta Ferguson facilitates feedback from children in the N. Wilkesboro Housing Authority's after-school program (right).

The community event in North Wilkesboro was a grand success. Over 100 people of all ages attended the event held at the Benton Hall. The attendees were served lunch while our convener presented them with an overview of the Raising Places process. For the following two hours, design team members presented their concept posters to individuals and small groups. Together, they discussed responses to their open questions, such as, “How can we make this concept even more beneficial for kids,” and, “If this concept were real, what are the potential negative outcomes?” With all this feedback came a lot of engagement and momentum – many individuals signed up to join the teams working on each concept!

The final component of the lab was pilot planning, where the design team laid out the nuts and bolts of running a pilot  – short-term test – of each concept over the next 2-3 months. They defined who needs to do what and by when, what success will look like, and how to measure it. They will share pilot results at the Raising Places National Convening in April!

If you’d like to get involved with the Wilmington team as they pilot these promising ideas, please contact the team’s convener. We look forward to seeing this community continue to transform!