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Our Greater San Diego Vision’ Launches Interactive Website

Aired 11/30/11 on KPBS News.

A multi-million-dollar effort to get San Diegans involved in planning for the region’s future is unveiling a new tool. The project hopes an interactive web site will attract more people than public meetings.

“Our Greater San Diego Vision” has invested $2.4 million to ask San Diegans how they’d like the region to look in 40 years. San Diego’s quality of life is at stake as the population is expected to grow 40 percet by 2050.

Mary Ball, vice president of Our Greater San Diego Vision, said so far just about 600 people have joined meetings and task forces. But she said the new interactive web site should get people more engaged.

“We’re really hopeful,” Ball said, “that we are going to be able to create enough awareness that we can get tens of thousands of San Diegans to participate and weight in."

Dee Allsop of Heart and Mind Strategies in Virginia has designed a web site that offers different scenarios of San Diego’s future and asks web site visitors to chose between them.

“It’s based on the idea that people will make good choices if they are given good information and they’re able to see the consequences of their actions,” Allsop said. “I think the visualizations are the things that are going to stir up a lot of interest. “

One visualization shows mansions sprouting in the meadows of Rancho Guejito east of Escondido, another shows high rises surrounding Oceanside’s Coaster station. It asks questions about developing Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley with walks along the river, and building a new university in Chula Vista.

The site offers people options of where to build places to live, work, play and learn.

The longest scenario looks at the whole county. It would take about 20 minutes to review and respond.

But Allsop said the site is designed so people can give their input in five minutes and then decide whether to take another bite at the site later if they're busy.

“We give them a couple of options,” he said. One option would be to log off. “OK, I’ve got to go pick up my kids, I’ll come back another time.’ Or they could say, ‘OK, that was great, I’m ready now to share my voice on another topic.’ And then they get to chose which are they want to go to next.”

People who don’t have a computer can visit the website at any library, high schools are encouraged to try it and 30 SDSU students have signed up to engage seniors and minority communities with ipads.

The web site: “showyourloveSD.org” will only operate through January. Our Greater San Diego Vision will release the results next May.

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