Over the years, the team behind the Atlanta Science Festival has worked with hundreds of collaborators to stage thousands of events across the metro area. Yet, as a small team, they rarely get the chance to dedicate time to building relationships with a community in just one neighborhood. When they learned that Atlanta Streets Alive had selected the Cascade Corridor neighborhood for an event in 2019, the Festival saw its opening. Atlanta Streets Alive worked with neighborhoods in the area to shut down Cascade Boulevard to vehicles for a day so that people living there could enjoy walking, biking, and special events on the street. The Festival worked with local collaborators to set up a scavenger hunt leading people to different science experiences along Cascade throughout the day. This site was part of a set of Science In Vivo awards emphasizing process over product.
Neighborhood connections and memories can span decades and generations. These deep ties forged by shared experiences over time shape a neighborhood’s identity. This is what gives neighborhood-level outreach such strong potential. It is also why neighborhood-level outreach ought to emphasize process over product. In many cases, integrating science experiences into neighborhood gatherings simply cannot be done without first taking the time to forge strong relationships and adjust to neighborhood priorities. And it is worth it. Hear why from the teams and observers involved in two Science In Vivo sites: SciCycle, and Science Haven. The audio highlights here are from final critiques in 2019 and a group category conversation in 2021.