The city of Tel Aviv saw a massive increase in e-bike ridership, causing ever greater friction in the street. Advocates for pedestrian safety called to bring e-bikes to a halt, while bicycle enthusiasts tried to explain they are not at fault, but the lack of appropriate infrastructure.
Led by the deputy-Mayor, a team of public participation experts devised a program to reshape the heated debate. The goal was to restart the relation between pedestrians and cyclists, to turn it into an alliance based on the common good of both groups. A guided tour in the city center that showcased the evolution of bicycle pathways along the years proved useful in tying bonds between participants.
Public Participation Process
Residents in the city of Hertzliya, Israel, were unhappy with the way the municipality pushed forward a new master plan for the city. Public trust was on decline, as the Mayor’s office needed to better communicate the advantages of the new master plan.
The goal: make residents more involved in the planning process. The challenge: residents were not equipped with the vocabulary of professional city planners. The solution: a guided tour in the city center of Hertzliya, demonstrating urban qualities that are planned to be featured in the new master plan of the city.
Though residents were reluctant to participate in meetings, hearings and lectures, that were also part of the public participation process, residents were more than happy to meet for an outdoor activity. Most people saw it as an opportunity to meet with fellow residents, aside from learning something new and to become involved in the city planning process.
Public relations for an urban project
When you’re late to a meeting - how do you explain it? If it’s just five minutes, you probably apologize and carry on. But what if you’re late by more than thats? Let’s say you’re fifty years behind schedule. How do you explain that?
The national company in charge of building the new light rail system in the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv faced such a dilemma. To explain its tardiness, the company invited the public to participate in a special tour. About 500 participants (in numerous groups) got to see sites connected to the history of the light rail in Tel Aviv, including an underground station that was built in the 1960’s and was never used.
The tour was developed to be humorous, yet educating. It was designed to climax in a visit to an active light rail construction site, that delivered an important message - after more than fifty years, the new rail is finally coming.
At the end of the tour, some participants were reported to have said “so, it’s actually happening” - proving the successful delivery of the message.