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 Wilmington, 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, their group had to reach consensus on the three biggest challenges. Here’s where they landed:

- The cycle of poverty

- Disempowered youth

- Poor air quality

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.

Design team members Gabriela Medina and Dave Campbell discussing root causes of poor air quality in Wilmington

In Wilmington, small groups discussed root causes such geographic and economic isolation, the land and sea traffic surrounding the Port of LA, the local informal economy, cultural barriers to parent advocacy and the undocumented status of many residents. 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 low-income families in Wilmington to build and grow financial assets

2. I want existing Wilmington organizations to co-create with youth

3. I want local business leaders to create environmentally responsible ventures and hire local talent

Convener Chandelle Wiebe and design team member Dave Campbell viewing the voting results for positive goals

These goals formed the basis of a research plan, with one small group focused on each of them. The purpose of research is to better understand each positive goal: who is currently achieving it, and how; who is not currently achieving it, and why.

Stay in touch for the next content update from Wilmington!