By design, a broad cross-section of community residents, including those involved in local organizations, representatives from local and regional coordinating agencies, and residents are involved throughout the plan development process to provide input and react to plan proposals aimed at defining a preferred and deliberate future for the community. The most effective engagement programs recognize the need to blend high-touch and high-tech engagement efforts. Creating a convergence of these two methods is an essential ingredient in the development of an effective public engagement program. Each component, both on-line and off-line, would serve a distinct purpose. The off-line, high-touch strategies help build trust, one-on-one relationships, and a constituency of support. The on-line, high-tech strategies (e.g., virtual town hall online discussion forum) provide opportunities to engender greater understanding, forge deeper relationships, create larger networks, and interact in ways that are convenient for the participant — leading to more frequent and routine engagement.
KKC’s high-touch public engagement program includes face-to-face meetings in a range of public settings, including:
- One-on-one sessions with key individuals.
- Small group listening sessions (developers, brokers, lenders, business owners, non-profit organizations.
- Youth forums.
- Mobile tours.
- Living room sessions.
- Community workshops and open houses.
Part of KKC’s high-tech engagement strategy would be the use of a multi-media, virtual town hall meeting software platform that brings community engagement to your citizens. The virtual town hall program enables a community to engage all of its citizens in a proactive and inclusive public engagement process through a project website that allows public interaction at any time and from any place. This unique web-based approach empowers citizens to engage in the planning process via an easy-to-use web interface.
KKC employs a variety of techniques to draw participation from all facets of the community representing all persons geographically and socially. KKC has used a wide range of custom-tailored techniques for attracting citizens to meetings, which have included those listed below. KKC coordinates with each client to determine the manner of communication that is most appropriate for the community and the responsibilities for providing notice. Methods and media previously used include, among others:
- Posters and flyers placed in key locations around the community.
- Use of the municipal website to post announcements of upcoming citizen involvement opportunities as well as draft plan elements and maps.
- Articles and announcements in the local newspaper.
- Letters and invitations to key community stakeholders.
- Reader boards and signs promoting public events and activities.
- Postcards or door-knob flyers to every resident.
- Utility billing inserts or notices announcing an upcoming meeting.
- Public access television notices.
KKC has developed a variety of effective exercises through which to engage local residents, including
- Visual preference surveys.
- Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis.
- Maps and markers.
- Implementation prioritization voting.
- Lego form generation exercises.
- Design awareness.
- Live-work mapping.
- Graffiti Wall planning notes.