At Raising Places, we believe that people embrace the change that they are a part of. And so while our team facilitates the process of human-centered design, each local community drives its own content based on local needs, assets and priorities.

In North Minneapolis, the team began by asking themselves the question, “What are the barriers to all children and families thriving here?” In order to apply to Raising Places back in spring 2017, the group had to choose three challenges to explore. Here’s where they landed:

- Lack of a “village approach” by education systems

- Lack of a thriving economy

- Lack of accountability of public institutions

Systems thinking tells us that in order to make sustainable change to a system, we must tackle not the symptoms of our problems but the root causes. And so, during the Kickoff Lab, the team discussed their assumptions as to the root causes of these community challenges.

Convener Adair Mosley and design team member George Roberts discuss the root causes of education-related challenges in North Minneapolis

For the Plymouth Avenue Corridor, small groups discussed root causes such as housing instability, transportation barriers, a lack of equitable investment, zoning limitations, a deficit-focused media, institutional racism and misperceptions of danger and disengagement  in the community. The group then shifted to writing positive goals - specific statements about an aspirational future state. From over 100 initial positive goals, the team narrowed down to three:

1. I want educational institutions to honor their commitments to children of the North Side

2. I want city agencies to create and maintain a community-driven, comprehensive plan for the Plymouth Avenue Corridor

3. I want staff at public institutions to build and maintain relationships with people from different realities

Design team member Martine Smaller writes positive goals for community planning and development in the Plymouth Avenue Corridor

These goals formed the basis of a discovery plan, with one small group focused on each of them. The purpose of this discovery phase is to learn from residents and other stakeholders in order to better understand each positive goal: who is currently achieving it, and how; who is not currently achieving it, and why.

Get news on the next update from the Plymouth Avenue Corridor in North Minneapolis!