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Next Steps and Maintaining the Momentum

Part 5: How to keep moving forward after a successful pop-up demonstration project

The AARP Pop-Up Demonstration Tool Kit: Next Steps and Maintaining the Momentum


After successfully completing and evaluating the pop-up project's demonstration event, it's time to think about the future. This section is designed to help individuals and groups plan and implement ongoing campaigns to make a neighborhood, block, street or community more livable by using the pop-up event as a catalyst for change.

1. Advance The Leadership Team

The leadership team and volunteers worked hard to make the event a success. People had fun and were inspired by the possibility of permanent improvements. The team and volunteers will probably benefit from a short recovery period, but then keep the momentum going by reconvening the group to plan the next activity.

Over the past several months the leadership team, volunteers, residents, businesses, municipal staff and others have spent a great deal of time together. The event helped to identify the power players, available resources, and any opposition. Through the experience the team has developed social capital and exchanged new ideas. It's good practice to have documented the meetings, ideas, and players along the way.

Now it's time to see how it all plays out and determine what your next steps will be.

If there was no community commitent before, hopefully enough glue has been created through the experience to result in a new neighborhood or business group, which could simply be the event leadership team itself deciding to keep working together.

Formalizing the intention to work together as a group is an effective way to continue to advocate for more permanent and innovative changes to the neighborhood. There are lots of things to consider now or in the future, such as nonprofit or 501(c)3 status, leadership roles, and even bylaws, if the team chooses to be that formal.

 

Starting with the leadership team as the base — but understanding that some team members may not be able to continue their service and other community members may be interested in taking on leadership roles — establish a steering committee. This team is essentially a built-environment steering team, or BEST [Insert Your Town Name], that focuses on bringing the recommendations of the report to fruition.

The project team will need to engage municipal staff and community advocates in understanding the pop-up tools and treatments so the improvements can be codified or implemented for long-term change. 

2. Pursue Policies, Funding And Infrastructure

If the pop-up event was successful, seek recognition from the city, town or municipality through a proclamation, or even a resolution or ordinance to establish or change policy. This recognition will ensure that the public is aware of the pop-up demonstration event, and it shows that the municipal government supports the concepts that were brought forward through the event.

Larger, more complex livability improvements will typically take longer to implement than smaller, simpler ones. For instance, getting federal funding to pay for a corridor streetscape redesign could take years or decades to plan, acquire and implement, whereas getting an already-scheduled street resurfacing to include bike lanes might be an easy win. (See the sidebar "A Case in Point.)

Think about what policy or funding barriers may have led to the situation the pop-up event was meant to highlight. Connect the pop-up project with any city, county or regional-level initiatives or plans that may have similar goals.

For instance, the city may have adopted a Complete Streets policy, or it may be updating its comprehensive plan to include improvements for walking, bicycling infrastructure and safety, or the community might already have a goal to revitalize the neighborhood where the pop-up event was held.

A way to determine successful spin-off pop-up projects from the event is to determine what can fit within the community's vision and then conduct new demonstrations in partnership with the relevant government agencies.

If the event focused on infrastructure changes, look into how the municipality can help. The involved agencies or partners might be able to apply for funds to transform the temporary pop-up project changes into permanent improvements such as bike lanes, curb extensions, pedestrian crosswalks, public plazas and traffic lane narrowing. Governmental administration processes don't work fast, so patience is necessary. (See the sidebar "A Success Story.")

3. Find The Next Pop-Up Projects

By organizing a pop-up demonstration, the event's leadership team created a vision and roadmap for the neighborhood. After analyzing survey responses and experiences from the pop-up event, the team knows what worked and what didn’t.

  • Determine which projects are worth pursuing, then begin planning the next steps to make the solutions permanent.
  • Create a calendar of proposed events. It might be useful to conduct a pop-up event or policy campaign every quarter, for instance, and form leadership subcommittees for each event. Subcommittees could also be formed to handle certain aspects of each pop-up event, such as marketing, planning and coordination, recruiting and managing volunteers, data gathering, event logistics, or liaison with municipal staff and elected officials.

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). 

AARP LivabilityFact Sheets

Download the collection or select from the 11 individual fact sheets.

Our Other Inspiring Resources Include

The AARP Livability Fact Sheets series and the AARP HomeFit Guide are first-place winners in the Clearmark Awards. The Imagining Livability Design Collection received Platinum-level honors from the MarCom Awards.

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