We’ve mentioned it before, but Urban Decision Group has been working with a lot of great firms on the West Franklinton Comprehensive Plan. The West Franklinton project is currently in Phase II, meaning the project team is hard at work on everything from suggested land use updates to collating all of the community input gathered to date. By far, one of the best parts of this project has been connecting with the West Franklinton community; they’re a passionate bunch who really care about their neighborhood and the people within it.
One of the ways the project team has kept in touch with the community is through the West Franklinton MindMixer page at www.westfranklinton.com. The beauty of this website is two-way communication: the project team can start a general conversation and the members of the West Franklinton community can fill in the details. The site launched on January 2, 2014 with six core topic areas requiring community input:
- Community Identity + Image
- Driving, Walking + Biking
- Housing + Neighborhood
- Parking Strategies
- Parks + Open Space
Collectively, these core topics generated 177 individual ideas with 193 comments over a period of two months. We were thrilled with the feedback and the active participation of community members, and we are currently working on incorporating this wealth of local knowledge and energy into recommendations and strategies that will be presented at the second public meeting on April 30th, 2014 at Gladden Community House from 5 – 7pm.
There’s obviously a lot to read through in these discussions, but there are many tricks to getting a quick idea of the general concerns and even mood of a discussion. Among them is a simple and easy visualizing technique that was all the rage in planning circles circa 2011: the word cloud. A word cloud is merely a visualization of text data, where words from a given source are sized according to their use. That is to say, the more a word appears in a given text, the larger it will appear in a world cloud.
Word clouds are by no means a substitute for carefully reading through text or other analysis exercises, but they can reveal some pretty interesting patterns and are a handy visualization regardless. We decided it would be fun to throw the discussions from the original six MindMixer topic areas into wordle to see what these community discussions look like. We’ll probably continue to play with these visualizations over the next few weeks (I would particularly like to edit out the words “West” and “Franklinton” to see what else will stand out), but the results are below. What do you think?
Community Identity + Image
Driving, Biking, Walking
Housing + Neighborhood
Parks + Open Space