Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Selling Change: Two Keys to a Successful Pilot Project
On a daily basis, planners in cities across America are trying to convince their citizens and leaders to embrace bold ways to transform their communities - from building new transportation systems to allowing higher density development.
As White describes, "pilot" or "demonstration" projects can be a great tool for testing ideas and getting people to buy into big change. "Selling change by the slice," writes White, "can demonstrate the change and its benefits so everyone can see it. If it's as successful as you expect, you'll dramatically lower the fear level, and by the time you ask citizens and their leaders to accept the rest (a built-out transit system, a mixed-use development in their neighborhood, a new kind of recycling), it's less like a leap of faith and more like a hop."
White goes on to detail the two key components of successful pilot projects: "First, you have to find a place willing to accept the slice. Second, you have to make sure its success is so apparent that opponents are, grudgingly, won over."