If you read our previous post (and if not, feel free to check it out here) you might be wondering about our process. If we’re just citizens, are we simply running this based on our own wants and needs?

To be perfectly honest, yes and no.

Yes, the idea is rooted in our own experience. All three of us spent our early lives in places that differ culturally from the U.S. cities where we’ve been fortunate to call home. Independent longstanding interest on the topic of cities as social environments brought us together. And it’s also apparent to me that there’s a real benefit from coming in as outsiders; the fresh eyes with which we learned to navigate lives here have been the source of a lot of out initial assumptions.

But that’s where it ends, and these notions have ceased to be the premise for the project. Over the past few months, the team has been looking for insights about people’s experiences living in cities.Particularly, we’ve attempted to focus on how their relationship with the city – with city government, city initiatives, and their sense of belonging. To do this, we’ve been doing our homework through a combination of field observation and experiments, as well as the now-not-as-fashionable-but-actually-invaluable treasure trove of *gasp* other people’s research. Many of the latter come from the usual places: academic papers, marketing reports, journals. But we’ve also been surprised at the number of gems that have come from the unexpected goldmine of social networks. One example (that I highly recommend):

 

Through all this, we’ve found that pride, being proud of being a New Yorker, SF resident, Austinite and so on, is a good indicator of engagement on a social level.

Likewise, preliminary interviews seem to point to homeownership and having children in the school system make people more likely to pay attention to the comings and goings of City Hall.

We’ve held focus groups and brainstorm sessions, one on one interviews, and stakeholder chats. But these architected experiments are only the beginning. Cities are large, diverse, and filled with different needs.

Now we need your thoughts. In the next few days we’ll be publishing a poll and a survey. We’ll add questions below as time passes in this post, but will also distribute through social media, email, and if you’re extra close geographically, we’d also love to do it in person. If you scroll down you’ll also find an interesting video for being awesome and participating.

How proud are you to live in your city?