Atlanta Planners Provide Community With Unique Ways To Sound-Off On Key Development Projects
Known for its southern hospitality, cultural diversity and "can-do" civic attitude, Atlanta might soon distinguish itself for its technologically-progressive government. Local leaders are using new online tools to let residents comment on and influence three major development initiatives: the Beltline project; plans by Emory University to revitalize off-campus neighborhoods; and the Georgia DOT's work to revive a segment of Interstate 285.
Atlantans wishing to weigh in on these projects can now do so online, via software from Neighborhood America, whose solutions will help city planners and development authorities to collect, analyze and report on various forms of public comment. The technology augments traditional forums like town hall meetings, while making it easier for time-strapped or microphone-shy citizens to participate. The significance for project leaders is more inclusive feedback and greater likelihood for successful projects and happier communities.
"Not so long ago, we relied almost entirely on meetings, letters and e-mail for public input. But those methods required tons of time and staff work -- and we knew we weren't hearing from everyone," said Tim Preece, planning department manager of ARCADIS, a global architectural and engineering consulting firm advising on the redevelopment of Interstate 285. "Atlanta is growing so fast. We need innovative tools to reach residents and to incorporate their ideas into our plans."
"We're very impressed with the actions by city leaders to involve the people from the beginning of these projects," said Kim Patrick Kobza, Neighborhood America's president and CEO. "By integrating public comment into the process, city planners ensure that improvement projects like these truly meet the needs of their communities. That's not only smart; it's the right thing to do."
Neighborhood America's Public Comment Service enables organizations to collect structured information from the public and incorporate it into their decision-making process. This organized method for soliciting public opinion-where comments are linked to specific laws or issues-presents citizen views in a meaningful and actionable manner as opposed to comments found in a more free-for-all medium like a blog or "catch-all" e-mail inbox. The process can easily be managed with minimal manpower, thereby saving valuable resources for the execution of projects.
For more information contact:
2210 Vanderbilt Beach Road; Suite 1300
Posted May 17, 2006
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