I was very put off by the way the kickoff meeting was designed for the consultants (and, I presume, the planners and council, since they approved it) to tell us what they wanted. A large part of the meeting was Mr. Lineburger promoting his favorite type of development, urban walkable. Maybe we should have that downtown or around shopping centers, but it applies only to a small amount of Cary. Why were we spending money for a speaker to try to influence us? Why was most of the event about a subject that didn't even apply to the vast majority of Cary?
The things he said about millennials was not correct. Most of us have cars. Most of us want suburban, rather than urban, locations. Most of us are happy driving to work and to the stores and to restaurants.
Miss King was better, but still was one sided. She talked about how Cary had fewer millennials than Raleigh or Durham. But she did not point out that the term "millennials" include college students, most of whom live in or near colleges. She did not point out that Cary is doing better than the rest of the state in attracting people in their 30's.
I think that the use of the kickoff meeting was used to tell us what we should want and addressed such a small part of Cary has caused many people to lose faith and interest in the process. I hope the "area conversations" will be different and will be a place for the citizens to tell what they want. There should be no attempt for the consultants or planners to tell us what to think.
I agree. I am very discouraged and I am beginning to think that the town government has already decided the general idea of the future of Cary and that this "Imagine Cary" thing is just a show to justify their conclusions. I was very excited before the kickoff event at Embassy Suites, but I really felt let down. We had out of town consultants and a developer telling us what we should want, and presenting one sided and exaggerated statistical information to support their side. It was not designed to get us to think for ourselves.
I am now questioning whether it would be worth going to the area conversations. Will they be more of the same? Does the town government really want our input?
Post by Peaches Wilson on May 18, 2013 16:31:37 GMT -4
Please hang in there and participate in the Area Conversations. I hope that there will be some changes made and that the Town Council will want the input of Cary Citizens. Let's all give the Town another chance and, whatever you think, continue to participate. Unless we, the citizens, continue to try to provide input we will not be able to complain when we see the plan.
Count me as another turned off and put off citizen. I don't think that the town care about what the people who live here want.
It is not disagreement with Chris Leinberger. But it is the fact that only his opinion was presented. Leinberger pushes "walkable urbanism". Just a review of the articles he has published (see chrisleinberger.com/articles.html) shows that. It seems to be the only thing he is willing to write about.
That is a reasonable option for certain parts of Cary, such as downtown and around certain shopping centers. Another option that he does not discuss is "walkable suburbanism" - drivable suburban neighborhoods within walking distance (1/2 mile for many people). Many already exist. Check almost any commercial area with restaurants and stores and there will be residences nearby. Yet, very few people walk to those places, indicating that there might not be too much desire for them.
But very many people, particularly young families, do not want to live close to commercial areas. Believe it or not, many parents, and this includes young people, do not want to live near bars or busy roads.
Rather than giving Leinberger so much time to push his favorite subject, they should have had a speaker (or speakers) who could talk about what has made Cary the success that it is. But it seems that the planning department and consultants have their own ideas and don't want to here from us.
Post by Peaches Wilson on May 20, 2013 7:49:50 GMT -4
Fritz, I am really intrigued by your "walkable suburbanism" idea. That is an option that will certainly appeal to some people. There are many commercial areas, with shops and restaurants in Cary with housing, sometimes traditional suburban housing, within walking distance. In some cases slight improvements would have to be made (better sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, etc.).
Of course, some people would not want to be that close to commercial.
I hope you will attend at least one "Area Conversation" and present that idea.
I encourage you to register and use your full name. However, the more important thing is that you continue to post your ideas here. So please continue to take part in the discussion.
For the last 20 years I have been in the business of facilitating focus groups, community meetings, etc. These have covered such subjects as consumer products, community planning, and other matters. I have worked for three different firms and conducted several hundred such focus groups and other studies.
In all cases the one most important rule is that the facilitator does not give her opinion. There have been times that I have had strong opinions about the subject, but managed, I think, to hide my opinion. The problem is that it is too easy to skew the results. Those who disagree with your opinion tend to not speak up (except for the fringe groups), those who agree with you will speak up more, and those in the middle will tend to adjust their opinion to be closer to the facilitators. For this reason, the facilitator does not show her opinion. If statistical information is presented, there is a big effort to make sure that it does not support only one option. If options need to be presented, multiple options, including the status quo, are presented.
These rules have been tested in "studies about studies" and are based on measured, scientific tests.
If these rules are not strictly followed, the results are considered invalid.
The recent Summit did not follow these rules. I would have to consider the results from the "clickers" and the table conversations to be invalid.
**note - because Alice did not register, I do not have her email address and cannot verify the statements of fact in the first paragraph. However, I have no reason not to believe them. What she says is true for focus groups I have attended and what people in the "facilitator" business have told me. One reason for registering is to help me verify statements of fact if I need to contact you for more information.
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion so there is no need to verify opinions
I should add that I do not have any reason to believe that the Town Council or planning department have any preconceived plan. Unless I have strong evidence to the contrary, I will assume that they are open minded and really want to know the feelings of the people of Cary.
However, it appeared that the consultants and the guest speaker did have a strong opinion, and broke the primary rule by presenting (strongly presenting) a particular option and statistics that supported that option. The option presented may be a very good option, and the statistics presented were probably valid. But the presentation of one option and selected statistics violated the number 1 rule and invalidated the results.