Friday, February 12, 2010 - By Andrew - No comments

Cloud Sourcing Public Debate

After weeks of lively debate and a total of 11 hours of public testimony, designs for the Yale School of Management’s new campus have made it to the next step of the approval process. The Board of Aldermen is expected to make a decision on March 1 about whether the plans can move forward.

Like all city projects, the building process included a mandatory 120 days of public commentary, and both Yale and the Board of Aldermen have made an effort to take public opinion into account throughout the design process.

Even before the first public hearing, Yale asked the firm Foster + Partners to redesign the campus in response to a petition signed by twenty residents of the neighborhood surrounding the development site. The petition expressed concerns that new structures would abut residential buildings too closely and that the contemporary glass-and-steel-aesthetic would negatively affect the neighborhood’s look and feel.

In addition to the redesign requested by Yale, the Board of Aldermen added three amendments of their own to the proposal, including one which would require that a campus walkway be open to the public.

Despite the numerous modifications, supporters of the project remain concerned that opposition from a small number of residents would ultimately lead to a compromised final product that none of the parties involved would really be satisfied with.

Where does SeeClickFix fit into this picture? Opponents of the project have been active and vocal, whereas supporters in the community—who are probably more numerous—have been much less well-organized. However, two days before the second public hearing was scheduled to take place, Ben posted it as an issue on SeeClickFix and asked members of the community to express their support. By the time of the hearing, more than 130 people had responded to his call and registered their opinion that the project should move forward.

The ticket remains open for comment and the number of supporters continues to grow. On March 1st the Board of Aldermen will look to the ticket as a show of public support, but in the meantime it will continue to foster the debate and keep citizens engaged. We're glad that to see that SeeClickFix has been so successful in bringing public debate out of city hall and into the cloud, where anyone can plug in and be heard at any time.


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