The Textizen Blog

Category: planning

OCT 27 2015

The Road to a More Connected Gwinnett County

Great Exchange Header

All images via The Great Exchange.

A major suburban county in the Atlanta metro region, Gwinnett County boasts a population of around 900,000 people, spread out over a vast area. As is typical in the suburban United States, cars are the dominant form of transportation in Gwinnett, and other options for getting around are limited. Long commutes and heavy traffic are a daily standard for some residents, leaving many wishing for alternatives.

In summer of 2015, the Gwinnett Village and Gwinnett Place Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) collaborated with area leaders to host a widespread dialogue on the future of transportation in the region, titled “The Great Exchange on Transportation.” They enlisted the help of design/strategy collaborative Aha! Strategy to design a massive outreach campaign, with a Textizen survey at its center.

Somewhat unusually, the effort was not designed to inform a specific project or proposal, but to get the entire community to paint a vision of the future of Gwinnett County. It was one of the most ambitious outreach efforts the region has seen, and resulted in tens of thousands of conversations, 1,400 web survey responses, and over 2,700 text survey responses in one week.

“The Great Exchange was a non-agenda driven initiative to get people to take a step back, provide broad feedback, and build the framework for a future transportation plan. We used this as an opportunity to let the people be aspirational, and it exceeded all of our expectations.”

Chuck Warbington
Executive Director, Gwinnett Village CID

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JUN 15 2015

Kirkland Parks Opens Dialogue on Bold New Aquatic Center Plan

ARC artist's rendering

With a growing population including many young families, the demand for aquatic and recreation centers is high in Kirkland, Washington. In August 2013, Kirkland announced that city’s only public indoor pool would be shut down in 2017. The announcement sparked a public outcry, and the Department of Parks and Community Services began to draw up plans for a state-of-the-art Aquatics, Recreation and Community Center (ARC). As public debate continued, Kirkland still needed hard data about the support of the plan, and particularly where the plan’s supporters and detractors were located.

To gather the broad, quantitative data they needed, Kirkland Parks and Community Services Director Jennifer Schroder launched a Textizen survey for public input. In February 2015, Kirkland Parks sent out a community-wide mailer about the proposed ARC, with a Textizen prompt asking whether the project was a good idea. In total, 1,195 community members provided input by text.

“You can’t rely on everyone just reading the local newspaper or subscribing to a listserv for city news…. Asking a question gives us an idea of who’s reading what we’re sending out. I’ve been very pleased with the results.”

-Jennifer Schroder, Director of Parks and Community Services

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