What do you imagine for Anchorage? Urban Training Collaborative wants to know

One of the chalkboards posted by the Anchorage Urban Training Collaborative in the Kaladi...
One of the chalkboards posted by the Anchorage Urban Training Collaborative in the Kaladi Brother's Tudor cafe.(Taylor Clark)
Updated: Sep. 26, 2021 at 8:30 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Good coffee isn’t the only thing coming out of some Kaladi Brothers locations in Anchorage right now. Thanks to an effort from the Anchorage Urban Training Collaborative, some good ideas for the city are leaving the cafes as well.

It’s an initiative called Imagine #AllPeople. There are chalkboards and markers in eight Kaladi Brothers placed by the collective. They come with a simple statement followed by a blank line. For example: “For Anchorage to be the way it’s supposed to be for all people, I imagine --------.”

For those unable to go to one of the cafes, answers can be given on the organization’s Facebook page as well.

The idea comes from collective co-directors Joel Kiekintveld and Jessica Louwerse. Through the course of producing the collective’s podcast, AnchorED City Podcast, they said residents have highlighted the many issues that pull Anchorage residents apart.

Imagine #AllPeople is supposed to go the opposite direction, and get citizens talking about what they think are solutions to make the city better.

The chalkboard at the Tudor location had some complex topics on it Wednesday afternoon, like more access to health care and sustainable housing solutions for all. There were some simple one’s as well, like imagining neighbors helping neighbors and residents committing small acts of kindness.

“It’s not like any kind of official research, or anything like that, it’s very anecdotal,” Kiekintveld said. “In a sense the conversation itself is the outcome. To get people thinking — even if you never write on one of the chalkboards — to get you thinking about ‘hmm, what would Anchorage look like if it really was to be welcoming and inclusive and inviting of everyone?’”

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly factored into what many call a divided time in the city as well. Between stark differences in opinion and illness keeping residents further away from each other, Louwerse said this is an important time for the city to talk about these questions.

“Connection is really hard right now, and community can’t grow without that connection,” Louwerse said. “So this is another way to safely do that in a way that you have a broader reach and you feel like maybe your voice is being heard in places where you aren’t having that opportunity as often.”

The chalkboards will be up until November. At the end of the AnchorED City Podcast’s season, the collective will be presenting all the responses and give them to city leaders for consideration in policy making, community development, and other determinations.

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