Update on Project Activities
This past Sunday we met with Alex on campus to discuss our updates and thoughts over the past few weeks. We first discussed the two digital surveys that were sent out previously for both employers and employees. Although there were some technical difficulties for some participants to fill out the Google Forms, we customized them to ensure accessibility. Furthermore, we mentioned that we only have around 40 combined employer and employee entries so far. Assuming one business hires 2 employees, we have only heard the voices of about 13% of downtown Mountain View’s businesses. As a result of this dilemma, we agreed to extend our surveying out to the broader Mountain View Chamber of Commerce to capture the entire city. Although Alex did want to focus on downtown Castro Street, we realized that it will create a survey bias and there will be a disfocus on the holistic situation of Mountain View. Lastly, we will be outreaching to certain businesses that indicated that they would like to meet our team in-person on the Google Forms. These visits will be conducted during our Thanksgiving Break because of the convenience of schedules.
What We Observed and Learned
Last week Vivian Chang of the San Pablo Economic Development Corporation came to class and presented on her experiences dealing with community-serving retail and economic development in her city inside Contra Costa County. Although Alex has filled us in on his position and experiences, it was eye-opening to see a different perspective on economic development on the other side of the Bay Area. We learned that communities need to strike an appropriate balance between the development and catering towards independent and chain stores. Furthermore, we learned that to immerse ourselves into the environments of cities and towns in which we previously were not a part of, we should establish connections with various community nonprofits to provide a framework for the stakeholders involved with community development activities. Her visit to our class reassured our notions on the dilemmas associated with economic development and how we can focus our thoughts even more while we begin to produce our deliverables in the next week or so.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
On the surveying side, we mentioned previously that we will be outreaching to the entire city of Mountain View via their Chamber of Commerce point-person of Bruce Humphries and Tony Cyrus who are friends of Alex and Julie. We also finalized a time to present our findings to the Mountain View Downtown Committee on December 5th from 8-10am (they meet on the first Tuesdays of every month). Lastly, after Vivian's presentation in our class, we took away two critical thoughts as we continue our project. The first is understanding that without a clear leadership of policymakers that are accessible to the public, there can be no realistic changes to a community because they hold the political powers for tangible social change. The second is that we should understand what Mountain View’s “story” is (i.e. what is the current social, economic, and political situations in the town from a policymaker and a resident’s perspective?) and how can we market this story to make a compelling argument to Alex and our stakeholders?