Critical Issues Workshop

Thursday, May 29, 2014 from 6-8 p.m., Avenidas, 450 Bryant St.


On May 29, 2014 community members gathered at Avenidas for the first of three workshops that were held over the course of one month to elicit input during the City Comprehensive Plan update process – entitled Our Palo Alto 2030. This kickoff meeting, a forum on critical issues, provided an overview of the City’s assets and potential strategies for responding to future changes in demographic, economic and other conditions. Two additional workshops were held in June to elicit input from community members on potential issues to address 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.

This workshop included a community discussion to identify Palo Alto’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT). 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.