The selfies are rolling in from that photo booth that was roaming around Boston this week.
Part of a citywide planning effort called Imagine Boston 2030 — the first of its kind in a half-century — a team of staffers has been asking passersby to pose in front of a futuristic Boston backdrop and offer their two-cents on what’s next for the Hub.
“The idea was to picture yourself in the future,” Sara Myerson, Imagine Boston’s executive director, told Metro. “We’re not just planning for 10 years from now, you’re imagining what your life might be like 10 years from now in Boston.”
The booth made its way to five neighborhoods this week. Its last stop was scheduled for Friday night at the SoWa market in the South End, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Imagine Boston sent Metro more than two dozen of the responses they’ve collected so far (included above with each participant's ideas, as paraphrased by Imagine Boston staff).
Included is a range of opinions. Some of the selfie-takers took the opportunity to call for housing and transportation upgrades, programs for middle school students or jobs for people leaving prison. One, a man identified as "Bill," said he wanted Boston to be more like Tokyo.
Even Keytar Bear made a (silent) cameo — he happened to be hanging out nearby, playing his signature instrument, when the selfie booth rolled through Downtown Crossing on Thursday.
Needless to say there will be a lot to sift through once Imagine Boston’s two-year idea-finding mission is complete. Also in the mix are contributions from a text-to-vote program, stuffed in suggestion boxes placed around the city and shared at a series of community meetings, which in pictures appear to have been well-attended.
“This is all part of a new effort to really change the way that folks think about public engagement around city planning,” said Ceasar McDowell, an MIT professor and president of the Interaction Institute for Social Change.
He has some experience on the subject. He led a similar planning effort called Go Boston 2030, which focused on transportation.
“Of course,” McDowell added, “the real issue here is not so much how you can get people to participate in a selfie and submit an idea, but how does their idea actually travel through the decision-making process.”