comment on PDX YIMBY Facebook group, 19 Sept 2019, regarding Oct 3 event organized by Business for a Better Portland.

"As Portland grows into the city it dreams of becoming, we know change is inevitable.  When reevaluating the rules about what kinds of housing are allowed in  Portland neighborhoods, people understandably worry that it could be a  change for the worse. But what the status quo has yielded is  unacceptable: a persistent housing crisis that creates hardships at  various points along the income spectrum. People experiencing  homelessness are the most visible and acute victims, but middle-income  people and local businesses are also experiencing significant challenges  as market pressures make it more and more expensive to live here. 

"Business for a Better Portland is bringing together a robust slate of speakers to frame these issues at a range of scales: Ernest Brown,  a young professional from Oakland who works with an advocacy  organization called East Bay for Everyone, will give a keynote address  introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer. This will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Adam Davis of Oregon Humanities with Dr. Marisa Zapata (Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative at Portland State University), Hope Beraka (Think Real Estate), and Leslie Carlson  (Brink Communications). The program will be preceded by a catered  networking reception, and opportunities to engage directly with city  staff on these critical issues.

"This event is open to Business For A Better Portland members, sponsors, and the general public. For information about sponsorship opportunities, email Ashley Henry.

"Admission includes hosted bar and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are $10 for BBPDX members and $35 for the general public. To request a scholarship to attend this event, or to inquire about volunteering for this event, please email Wendy."


sounds interesting. I wonder how such an event might be designed to be prefigurative of the kind of city and city governance the organizers envision? At $35 general admission, even with some scholarships & volunteering slots available, I wonder who will enjoy this "catered networking reception, and opportunities to engage directly with city staff on these critical issues"? 

Let's say organizers of this or some future such event wanted to be prefigurative of the city they want to see. They might first figure out cost of event, then aim to ticket it so that roughly a racial and socio-economic cross-section of the city were offered participation at suggested prices in ratio to incomes and perhaps travel time/distance. Price could be negative for some, eg leaders and media and citizen journalists especially from less-represented communities might be offered payment to attend. 

How would organizers reach out to invite this broad audience? Perhaps by having cultivated well before it a wide directory of community members who've expressed interest, come from wide array of community organizations, etc, and might be specifically invited and encouraged to come or invite someone in their place, using a portion of the tickets / honoraria available. 

Of course the event would probably be recorded and livestreamed, and perhaps viewing / remote-participation locations and events set up in various places. Social media seeded ahead of time, various channels set up eg by hashtags. Viewers and particularly registered and especially invited members might be given opportunity to post questions in advance and post comments or follow-up stories / proposals generated, at a web node for the event. This node might also automatically or via a soc-media manager collect related postings on social and other media, by tracking hashtags and using pre-set search queries. 

Higher-paying and influential people might, I hope, be all the more attracted to attend and pay to attend such an event, because if done right hopefully it would have such a richer, more interesting, more authentic and significant level of city participation and ongoing impact. It would also offer unusually good opportunities to network with a far-reaching network of participants before, during, and after the event; and better avenues for constructive follow-up, such as developing articles or suggestions that come up and continuing them in the event forum.

I don't know, seems fun to me, worth a try?


c/ Business For A Better Portland. #PrefigurativeEvent