Critical Issues Workshop

Thursday, May 29, 6-8 p.m., Avenidas, 450 Bryant St.


On May 29, community members gathered at Avenidas for the first of three workshops that will be held in the next month to elicit input as the City updates its Comprehensive Plan – to be called Our Palo Alto 2030. The kickoff meeting was a forum on critical issues and covered the tremendous assets the City currently enjoys and how the City could respond to a host of changes the future will bring. Two more community workshops will be held in June to elicit input from community members on potential issues to incorporate throughout the process of updating the Comprehensive Plan. Approximately 40 members of the public participated in the May 29 workshop, and two Council members attended as observers.

The focus of this workshop was a community discussion to identify Palo Alto’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Participants formed six small groups of 5 to 7 people to complete a SWOT analysis, sharing their opinions on all aspects of life in Palo Alto today and the changes we might expect to see over the next 15 years – changes in housing, transportation, energy, water supply, climate, technology, and the regional and global economy.

The workshop concluded with a spokesperson from each group summarizing the opportunities that their group identified throughout the SWOT analysis.


A number of common themes emerged from two or more of the breakout groups as they prepared the SWOT Analysis. The word clouds shown at right include some of the most common big-picture themes in each category. A more detailed list is available as part of an online activity in Palo Alto’s Open City Hall. The City is encouraging additional responses through this online exercise similar to the one completed at the May 29 workshop. Additionally, complete transcriptions of the notes from each small group are attached to the meeting summary available here.

View the workshop presentation here.