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Knoxville Regional
Transportation Planning Organization

400 Main St, Suite 403
Knoxville, TN 37902

email: contact@planeasttn.org
phone: (865) 215-2500
fax: (865) 215-2068

Meeting in a Box Proves Popular with Local Groups

Posted 08/29/2012

Over 300 people participated in PlanET's second round of community input using the Meeting in a Box tool. This input format is proving to be an excellent way to reach residents representing a variety of interests across the region.

As PlanET’s second round of community input drew to a close in mid-August, the popularity of the project’s Meeting in a Box public participation tool continued to grow. During Forum Series 2, more than 300 people from 25 organizations took advantage of this unique way to share their vision of the region’s future, which was an increase of more than 30 percent from Forum Series 1 participation.

The Meeting in a Box concept is simple. PlanET staff or volunteers take the same materials used at the public forums to small groups and conduct ‘mini-forums’ at a time and location convenient to the participants. Neighborhood organizations, civic groups, church congregations, and even garden clubs have contributed their ideas to PlanET by holding meetings in box.

The tool has also been an excellent way to reach regional, non-traditional participants in the planning process. During the project’s first two phases—held between November 2011 and August 2012—meetings with the Hispanic communities in Knox and Loudon Counties and the Knoxville Urban League provided opportunities for PlanET team members to engage youth and young adults who are typically less inclined to participate in more traditional community forums.

“The Meeting In a Box tool is a great way to engage any organization’s members to think about the ways they want the region to grow in the future,” comments PlanET Outreach Coordinator, Sherith Colverson. “This tool gives people a voice in PlanET’s final action plan and gives local professionals and leaders a better understanding of the changes needed to improve our overall quality of life.”

Preparations for PlanET’s third round of community input, which is scheduled to begin this fall, are now underway. As the discussion shifts toward evaluating possible future growth scenarios there will be an expanded use of Meeting in a Box that should translate to even more residents having a voice in helping East Tennessee remain prosperous and healthy for generations to come.

Watch your inboxes for more information on the next round of public participation!

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