2 New Methods Attracting Better Community Engagement

These emerging methods can help improve the quality and quantity of your community engagement efforts.

Both 3-D printing technology and cloud-based web tools are helping managers of infrastructure projects meet engagement needs while getting the quantity and quality of participation they need for a successful project.

3-D models add another dimension to public involvement

3-D printing technology has been applied to everything from medical technology to aerospace engineering to fashion. 3-D printing is also changing the world of infrastructure projects. More than providing design efficiencies for engineers, it’s helping local and state governments streamline the public involvement process.

A young participant examines a 3-D printed model showing different design options.

Case Study

For a transit project in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the design team wanted to hear preferences and feedback from the neighborhood, which has a high population of non-English-speaking residents. The team developed simple interactive engagement tools, including 3-D-printed scale models (pictured above) and simple stickers to designate design preferences.

“The tools were instrumental in overcoming multiple language and communication barriers,” says Kristin Petersen, SEH planner. “Stakeholders most affected by the project were able to engage in meaningful ways.”

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Cloud-based tools simplify community engagement

Getting timely input and sorting through feedback from stakeholders has always been challenging. Now, with modern technology and cloud-based tools, stakeholders can share their dreams and insight on major planning efforts from the comfort of their home. Likewise, officials need only to log in to see the results.

Here, various screenshots highlight the functionality and interactivity of a cloud-based community engagement service. Learn more at www.communityremarks.com

Case Study

When the City of Appleton, Wisconsin, wanted community input on their comprehensive plan, the project team developed a page using communityremarks.com. The page allowed participants to share input by dropping pins onto a Google map and writing a comment. The comments were sorted by topics — each with their own icon. Finally, visitors could weigh in on the ideas of others by upvoting or downvoting certain remarks.

“The website made it easier for participants to share their ideas, and easier for us to interpret them,” says Andrew Dane, SEH community development specialist.

Interested in learning more about these capabilities? Contact the experts.

About the Experts

Andrew Dane

Andrew Dane, AICP, NCI, is an SEH senior planner and community development specialist. Contact Andrew

Kristin Petersen

Kristin Petersen, AICP, is an SEH senior planner and lead engagement specialist. Contact Kristin

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