AARP Pop-Up Demonstration Tool Kit

Building and Launching the Project or Event

Part 4 of designing and implementing a pop-up demonstration project

The thinking, planning and promoting done, Month 3 in this tool kit's three-month process is when the hands-on, physical work is started and completed.

1. CLEAN AND CLEAR THE PROJECT SITE

About one week before the event, hold a pre-build workshop to clean and clear the site by collecting trash, removing significant weeds, trimming the landscaping, and painting any vacant building walls or facades that need a fresh coat of paint.

2. START THE ASSEMBLING

In the few days leading up to the event, assemble such items as paint, tape, chalk, plants, trees, traffic cones, chairs and benches. Similarly, hold meetings to lay out and mark spaces such as bike lanes, curb extensions or bulb-out plazas and roundabouts. Work from the concept plan, the "recipes" (see one below) for the project elements, and any added design materials that have been developed to create the pre-build items.

Each pre-build workshop will require the assistance of a tradesperson or handyperson who is comfortable with both the project's design and the equipment needed to build each element. Be prepared to troubleshoot problems and make decisions if hurdles arise during construction activities.

If a waiver-and-release form is required of participants, ensure that it's available and that every person signs and dates one.

3. INSTALL THE ELEMENTS

This is the day and time when your team puts all the elements into place for the big event! The work often takes three to four hours but can be as fast as two hours depending on the size of the project site and the number of elements, concepts being installed and volunteers.

4. POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Better Block Foundation Green Bike Lane Recipe

Volunteers can get a lot done with an instruction sheet or "recipe." (Click on the image for a link to a larger view.) — Image from the Better Block Foundation

During the event, have one or two social meda-savvy volunteers assigned to post real-time information, photos and insights. This not only reinforces the project brand as a professionally operated event but it may bring additional visitors to the site.

5. DOCUMENT THE EVENT AND THE REACTIONS OF PARTICIPANTS

Encourage leadership team members and volunteers to capture photos and videos of the event and, in particular, how people interact with the project elements and the enhanced built environment. Use a photo-sharing site for collecting the images and videos, and use the best ones in follow-up communications and the project report.

6. DEPLOY THE EVALUATION KIT

During the event, volunteers who signed up for the activity should collect the data and needed feedback, which may include interviewing pedestrians, bicyclists, pop-up business customers, drivers, recreational activity participants and others.

(When reviewing the findings of the evaluation kit, embrace the idea that the project wasn’t intended to be perfect and that the assessment presents a valuable opportunity to learn what worked, what didn’t work and how to make a long-term change even better.)

7. DO A DEBRIEF AND WRITE A REPORT

Before the event, schedule a debrief meeting for attendance by the leadership team. During the debrief meeting discuss impressions, lessons learned, and the preliminary findings of the evaluation.

A sample form for surveying event participants

A sample form for surveying event participants. — From Team Better Block

Identify what worked, what didn’t work, and what things would ideally become permanent. Keep notes on these items and incorporate the information into the project report, the writing of which should be assigned to someone from the leadership team.

This concise report should document the project's intent, process, elements, outcomes and recommendations for making long-term change. The report should be clear and to the point, and it should include images and quotes that help tell the story of the event. Consider including community letters of support, news clippings, etc.

The report, which can be reviewed by the leadership team or other assignees before it's deemed final, should end with the leadership team's recommendations.

8. SPIN IT FORWARD

Share the report with leadership team members, volunteers, social media audiences, the news media, local leaders, advocacy organizations, business associations, property owners and any other individuals or organizations that may have an interest in the outcome of the project or future projects like it.

Next: Next Steps and Maintaining the Momentum »

The AARP Pop-Up Demonstration Tool Kit was written by Robert Ping (Executive Director, WALC Institute) and edited by Melissa Stanton (Advisor/Editor, AARP Livable Communities). A PDF version of the entire tool kit will be posted on May 24, 2017.


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