Public Outreach

Blog post
April 14, 2016, 5am PDT

As I do every year at the APA National Conference, I did my best to catch as many community engagement sessions as possible. Here are highlights, takeaways, and the common threads I noticed this year.

Dave Biggs
February 23, 2016, 7am PST
An article in CityLab says organizers and facilitators should avoid a few simple mistakes to help improve community meetings.
May 12, 2014, 6am PDT
Michael Lejeune is the creative director for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and as such he's tasked with making transit cool in a city that long worshipped the automobile.
April 21, 2014, 1pm PDT
A research team at MIT Urban Studies and Planning, led by Susan Silberberg, released a paper examining “the interactions between placemaking, community participation, and the expanding ways communities are collaborating to make great public places.”
Project For Public Spaces
March 5, 2014, 5am PST
With cities seeking to involve diverse voices in city-making to get beyond “the usual suspects,” Vancouver urbanists Brent Toderian and Jillian Glover examine how cities in their region are finding new ways to increase civic participation.
Brent Toderian
December 11, 2013, 12pm PST
After five years of work, D.C.'s Zoning Commission is not quite ready to consider changes to the city's 55-year-old zoning code. Additional public hearings have been scheduled after some groups asked for additional outreach.
The Washington Post
November 19, 2013, 7am PST
Tactical urbanism is transforming cityscapes around the world, but what would it mean to apply a "pop-up" approach to the planning process? A recent project in Santa Monica, CA allowed participants to evaluate public realm improvements in real-time.
Sustainable Cities Collective
October 23, 2013, 8am PDT
Community engagement efforts increasingly look to harness mobile devices and mobile applications to access, inform, and empower the public. However the mobile market is evolving at a fast pace, which complicates our understanding of what works best.
This Big City
September 14, 2013, 11am PDT
Rather than bringing a powerpoint presentation and ritzy renderings to a meeting with neighborhood residents, developer Omar Blaik brought blank sheets of paper. The result? A process devoid of the usual rancor and a denser design than zoning allows.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
August 7, 2013, 7am PDT
Looking to leverage cheap and easy social media tools to meet your citizen engagement mandate? Read. This. Now.
July 16, 2013, 9am PDT
After less than a year on the job, Vancouver's planning manager is under fire for controversial proposals. Do the recent misfires reflect poor messaging, tight budgets, and short timelines; or a more fundamental problem with the city's leaders?
The Globe and Mail
July 2, 2013, 5am PDT
Seeking to maximize the power of the Internet to expand public outreach efforts, a plethora of engagement platforms have proliferated in recent years. Government Technology looks at five of the most promising new models of civic engagement.
Government Technology
June 19, 2013, 4pm PDT
Land use disputes are increasingly taking up our time and producing unsatisfying results. A new approach to resolving conflict based on mutual gains may provide a better way to manage the most challenging situations.
Sean Nolon
June 14, 2013, 9am PDT
This week, outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa kicked off an ambitious five-year effort to revise L.A.'s outdated and unwieldy zoning code. The goal of the project is to create an accessible guide for transforming Los Angeles.
Daily News Los Angeles
May 21, 2013, 9am PDT
After participating in at least 27 planning processes over the last 15 years, residents of City Heights can be forgiven for wanting to actually see something built. Plentiful funds for planning, but meager funds for building, are causing frustration.
Voice of San Diego
May 5, 2013, 9am PDT
As they move into positions of leadership in their communities and in the public sector, a generation once labelled as "slackers" is helping to change the relationship between governments and their citizens, reports Rob Gurwitt.
April 29, 2013, 9am PDT
Polls show widespread public support for New York City's new bike share program. But as stations begin to appear on city streets, pitched battles are being waged over the control of public spaces.
The New York Times
April 24, 2013, 8am PDT
According to Arianna McBride, the recipe for good community design must effectively balance community wisdom with expert knowledge. She shares three ways that planners can facilitate the type of participation that leads to great places.
Citizens' Institute on Rural Design
January 30, 2013, 2pm PST
Only five months after the city passed the long-overdue update to its 1962 zoning code, City Council members are once again tinkering with the ground rules. Two months after moving to revise parking requirements, they're now focused on outreach.
November 1, 2012, 5am PDT
What does it mean to truly involve the public in planning processes? Neeraj Mehta finds "too much placation, manipulation and tokenism in our engagement efforts," and identifies principles for collective problem-solving and shared decision-making.
Next American City