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Downtown Future Forums

Community, Community Events

Maker Cities: Inspiring Engagement, Dialogue, and Participation

Burning Man to share philosophies of community engagement during San Mateo Innovation Week.

Social media, on-line platforms, community forums, and participatory activities through art and technology have transformed the ways citizens interact and participate within their communities. Information is more accessible, dialogue is on-going, and expectations for involvement continue to rise. As a city that prides itself on innovation, collaboration, and experimentation, San Mateo utilizes many of these techniques to create stronger connections with residents and community partners.

The Central Park Master Plan, Downtown Engagement process, Taste and Talk Speaker Series, and digital platforms such as San Mateo Town Hall, Nextdoor, and San Mateo City Insider eNewsletter and blog connect residents to community issues, provide information, and create dialogue. But, is that enough? What other techniques can be used to encourage greater connection, creativity, and participation throughout our community?

The upcoming panel discussion, “Maker Cities: Inspiring Engagement, Dialogue, and Participation,” taking place on May 14th features Burning Man co-founder and former City Manager of Black Rock City, Harley Dubois; Ashley Trim, Assistant Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy; Leslie Pritchett, Public Art Instigator and board member to several arts-based and nonprofit ventures including The Crucible and American Steel Studios; and Gordon Strause, Director of Neighborhood Operations with San Francisco-based Nextdoor. Stuart Mangrum, Education Director for Burning Man will facilitate the discussion.

Burning Man’s culture of participation and inclusion has inspired and increased expectations for community involvement in the default world. This panel brings together diverse perspectives from Burning Man and other leaders in community engagement to share philosophies, strategies and techniques that encourage citizens to get involved and contribute to making lasting solutions in communities near and far.

“We are excited to bring Burning Man back to San Mateo to be part of this diverse panel of community engagement leaders,” says Rebecca Zito, Senior Management Analyst. “Our community wants to be involved and contribute to the decision making process. Being able to learn from these leading thinkers will spark new ideas and strategies on how we can create a more connected community.”

Maker Cities: Inspiring Engagement, Dialogue, and Participation takes place on Thursday, May 14th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Kingfish Restaurant located in Downtown San Mateo at 201 S. B Street. Registration is free, but space is limited; reserve your space using Eventbrite. Visit San Mateo Innovation Week for more information. Visit our Facebook page, San Mateo Innovation Week, to share your innovative ideas.


A Downtown For All

Exploring Community Gathering Spaces

The City of San Mateo would like to invite you to the second Downtown Future Forum taking place on Wednesday, May 13th from 5:45 to 7:00 p.m. at the San Mateo Masonic Lodge located at 303 Tilton Avenue.  The Downtown Future Forums are free and open to the public. Please use Eventbrite to register.

Temporary parklet installed during San Mateo Innovation Week 2014

Temporary parklet installed during San Mateo Innovation Week 2014

The forums are a key component of the San Mateo Downtown Engagement process, leading to an update of the City’s Downtown Area Plan later this year. This second workshop focuses on the innovative and creative uses of urban spaces.  From temporary uses such as parklets, pop-up retail and art installations to permanent spaces for community events, gardens and meeting places this discussion will focus on the ways cities around the nation are re-imagining urban areas that enhance the pedestrian experience, encourage exploration, and make the public realm more inviting.

Julie Flynn of Street Plans Collaborative and Leah Nichols with SiteLab Urban Studio will illustrate case studies and project examples, and provide an overview of the process to plan for and implement creative community-oriented spaces in urban settings.

“Happiness Wall” imagined by the San Mateo community during SummerFest 2014. Now on display at the corner of Third and El Camino to activate the gateway entry into Downtown San Mateo.

Doors open at 5:45 p.m. to give attendees a chance to network and enjoy food provided by Roti Indian Bistro.  The program begins at 6:00 p.m. and an interactive exercise will encourage participants to share ideas about the opportunities for Downtown San Mateo. Find out more about San Mateo Downtown Engagement. We hope to see you there!


Attend the first Downtown Future Forums. A key component of the Downtown Engagement Process

San Mateo Downtown EngagementDowntown 2050: How social and economic trends are re-shaping the future of downtowns

We are excited to introduce the first in the series of San Mateo Downtown Future Forums on Wednesday, April 1st from 6-7:30pm at the San Mateo Public Library. The forums are a key component of the San Mateo Downtown Engagement process, leading to an update of the City’s Downtown Area Plan later this year. This kick-off event will focus on the direction of regional social and economic development and how downtowns are responding to them (e.g., by balancing development activity with the need for a diverse range of housing, office space, retail, community-oriented amenities, and parking).

The discussion will include an overview of emerging socio-demographic trends impacting downtowns, followed by a panel discussion with local representatives from cities around the Bay Area who are leading Downtown initiatives. The format of the forum will be designed to encourage community feedback, interaction and discussion. We hope you can attend!

B Street Books 2

The Future Forums is one of several ways to participate in the Downtown Engagement strategy. Share your thoughts and be part of the process by visiting the Downtown Engagement website for more information, join the online conversation at San Mateo Town Hall, and visit us at Central Park on Saturday, March 21st to participate in a Pop-up Workshop. We want to hear from you!