Talking Transition hosted more than 120 events and performances in its tent on Canal Street, organized by 97 event hosts and including 482 conversation leaders. Events included the presentation and discussion of specific policy proposals for the new administration to consider, more open, interactive conversations about some of the most pressing issues facing the City during this time of transition in government, and
cultural events of all shapes and sizes. Programs occurred daily in the Talking Transition tent, and were scheduled to provide an ever-changing experience for visitors – an event on neighborhood development might be followed by a conversation about arts equitability, which might then be followed by a discussion on community schools. Sitting in the tent for 15 days provided an intensive, immersive education about the policies and players who are actively reshaping the City of New York.
Although the experience in the tent was ever-changing, Talking Transition has organized the recordings and ideas from these events into 11 issue areas. Click below to choose your issue, watch the events, meet the conveners, and view New Yorkers’ opinions on the community vision wall and soapbox.
Talking Transition is about demonstrating a new process of broad civic engagement that leverages traditional grass roots organizing tactics with open forums in digital media and public spaces. The idea is to leverage the momentous occasion of a democratic election to keep the citizenry involved in the process of policy-making after the votes are counted. With an expansive data project, Talking Transition is enabling elected officials to understand popular sentiment about policy at a more nuanced level than available during an election, and to govern with an eye towards the sentiment of the populace as a whole, reaching beyond the voting public. With an open tent filled with interactive events convened by organizations from throughout the city and across the ideological spectrum, Talking Transition is bringing onto the public stage the policy proposals and ideas that typically make their way to elected officials through closed-door meetings and back channels, giving advocates – from community groups to experienced practitioners – a while also facilitating their .
Too often significant decisions made during a mayoral transition are made internally, with limited or no public input until after those decisions are announced. This unprecedented initiative was able to pull back the curtain on this process by offering New Yorkers, elected officials, policy experts, industry groups, public service providers, neighborhood groups, advocacy organizations, and students a public forum to highlight issues and viewpoints they wanted the next mayor to prioritize.
Talking Transition took place in every corner of the city. The majority of the programs were held in a tent on Canal Street & Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, however events took place in the outer boroughs. In addition to pre-scheduled events, over 100 field canvassers travelling across the five boroughs to engage citizens, as well as three mobile “tents” that traveled throughout the city.
Throughout the initiative, all programming – in the tent and around the boroughs – addressed the City’s transition and informed the agenda of the incoming mayor. In order to provide a balanced vision for the incoming administration, Talking Transition was committed to engaging an extensive group of individuals and organizations that are representative of New York City’s ideologically and demographically diverse constituencies. Current administration officials, incoming elected officials, and members of the Mayor-elect’s transition participated, fostering a more nuanced dialogue between the citizenry and its government. All events focused on the state of New York City and its neighborhoods, highlighting major accomplishments and shortcomings of the last twelve years, and the issues that confront the new administration.
Programming curators included the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the New York Women’s Foundation, Make the Road New York, AARP, The Manhattan Institute, Vocal New York, Coro New York Leadership Center, West Harlem Progressive Democratic Club, NYU Wagner Food Policy Alliance and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Talking Transition also developed a partnership with the New York Public Library to bring programming to its branches around the city.
Talking Transition was convened by a number of foundations with deep investments in New York City including: Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, Revson Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, New York Community Trust, New York Foundation, North Star Fund, Atlantic Philanthropies and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.