It’s easy to think of engaging the public as the final, “comment” stage in city planning, whether for infrastructure updates, new developments, or new programs. But if the public doesn’t share the planners’ visions, good luck with implementation.
My old boss used to say “people aren’t down on what they’re up on.” People want to know what’s coming down the pike. One way of avoiding “bad public engagement” is to get the public involved early on. That’s the main point of this article at Social Pinpoint:
Projects that seek to address a community issue are most successful when stakeholders are ‘taken along for the journey’ from the beginning. Asking the community for comments when decisions have already been made is not effective engagement; it should be an ongoing, cumulative process, enabling relationships and support for the project to build over time.
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Contributor: Benjamin Peterson, Pepperdine School of Public Policy Alumnus, MPP ’16.