Palo Alto's attempt to engage residents in a conversation about the city's long-term future will kick off Wednesday and continue in the coming weeks as the city hosts three panel discussions focused on the city's changing demographics and housing challenges.
The first event of the city's "Our Palo Alto" initiative will take place Wednesday, April 23, at the Downtown Library and will focus on the question, "Who are we?" Moderated by former Mayor Sid Espinosa, the discussion will feature economist Steve Levy from the Center of Continuing Study of the California Economy, David Evan Harris from the Institute for the Future and Ann Dunkin from the Palo Alto Unified School District. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and will focus on the latest changes in the local population and projections for further shifts in the coming decades.
Participants will also have a chance to view "Made In America," an online archive of stories about families who moved to America and Palo Alto. Residents will also have a chance to contribute their own stories about the city as part of a project undertaken by the Palo Alto library.
The "Our Palo Alto" initiative coincides with the city's ongoing update of the Comprehensive Plan, the official land-use bible that the city hopes to adopt by the end of next year after nearly a decade of revision. It aims to reach out to residents who don't normally attend council meetings by hosting events outside of City Hall.
The conversation will continue later in the month with a discussion on Affordable Housing and challenges faced by renters, homebuyers and employers within the Palo Alto housing market. There will be two opportunities to join in this discussion: Monday, April 28, at 3 p.m. at the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, and Wednesday, April 30, at 6 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real. Speakers will include Bena Chang of Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Genevieve Sharron of MIG Consultants.
For more information about the April events, go to cityofpaloalto.org.