2023 Ideas Challenge Entry
The City of Rochester’s Mayor Kim Norton has taken steps to ensure the authentic and meaningful use of community engagement to drive decision-making at the policy, program, and community design levels. Involving people directly impacted by decisions from the start and utilizing their experiences, ideas, and input alongside the expertise of professionals helps optimize the city’s development.
Rochester used the co-design methodology on issues such as housing, workforce, sustainability, and street design. The program is bringing together community members and industry professionals to address cultural, economic, and other barriers to create an equitable, just, and sustainable city. Norton aims to ensure the city takes action with people and not to them as the city grows and changes in size and demographics.
The program has resulted in more diverse representation on committees and community boards. Including: local artists working on street design in the downtown redevelopment effort, secured a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies focused on Equity in the Built Environment, which helped to diversify the city’s construction and trades, and in their sustainability and resiliency planning. Additionally, the city hopes to see growing diversity at their community events and are pleased to see Mayor Norton invited to many cultural events.