Community Engagement

Community engagement is the starting point for involving residents in a local area in decisions that affect them. This collection of solutions and blocks provides a quick summary of resources on this topic.

Citizen Initiatives Drive Climate Action

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"In 2015, Bar­celona ad­op­ted a bot­tom-up ap­proach to mit­ig­at­ing cli­mate change through its cit­izen-led ini­ti­at­ive Com­mit­ment to Cli­mate Change. The city in­vited more than 800 or­gan­iz­a­tions in­clud­ing schools, busi­nesses, and NGOs to par­ti­cip­ate in the pro­cess, res­ult­ing in the cre­ation of nine cit­izen-cent­ric pro­jects. It is the city’s goal that these ac­tions, along with city-led ini­ti­at­ives, will help Bar­celona sub­stan­tially re­duce CO2 emis­sions and in­crease the total urban green area by 1.6 km2 by 2030. The nine cit­izen-cent­ric plans in­clude a bike-shar­ing pro­gram to en­cour­age people to cycle to work and a mo­bile ap­plic­a­tion that con­nects res­id­ents who want to swap goods and of­fer re­pairs. An­other pro­ject will em­ploy and train res­id­ents to ren­ov­ate hous­ing with pass­ive and low cost sys­tems to re­duce en­ergy con­sump­tion. All these pro­jects work in syn­ergy with Bar­celon­a’s stra­tegic meas­ures to ad­dress cli­mate change with the hope that the cit­izen driven pro­cess will en­sure the city’s long-term com­mit­ment to cli­mate ac­tion." Quote from:

City knowledge exchange platform

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We will explore a range of options for developing an open knowledge platform for connecting people, organisations, ideas and knowledge across the city. It would enable ideas to be connected across themes such as climate preparedness and could connect project ideas with possible funders.

Co-Producing Resilience

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Stakeholders are engaged equitably across disparate interests to create a common ground approach to solving multiple problems through multi-faceted strategies, thereby garnering broad support and employing an economy of means toward a more resilient community. Residents and businesses typically at odds coalesce around common goals of economic stability, climate security, and the pleasure of food.

Community Engagement

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On the Lower East Side (LES), the BIG Team worked intensively with LES Ready, an umbrella organization of twenty-six community groups. A joint planning committee prepared a series of workshops at various locations in the neighborhood. At the first workshops, the community debated the merits of various approaches, using the BIG Team’s models of different prototypical solutions. In the second series of workshops, the results of these discussions were incorporated in two possible integral design solutions for each compartment.

Competitions & Community Engagement

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The Rebuild by Design process and the National Disaster Resilience Competition are examples of the power of well-designed competitions to produce new ideas and bigger, better solutions than traditional grant offerings or procurements. In addition, competitions can be used as community engagement mechanisms at a city-level to help quantify ecosystem services or future losses due to climate change. Generating better local data on current losses can create concrete opportunities for savings and insurance-based finance.

Create a communication platform for risk and resilience for citizens

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The aim is to create a platform that facilitates communication of risk information to the public and that allows community networks for the construction of urban resilience and adaptive capacities. This action provides information in a timely and adequate manner to help the public address risks, increase their adaptive capacity at the community level, guide their actions in emergency situations, and increase social cohesion, citizen participation and empowerment through risk awareness.

Creative data application through challenges and hackathons

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As part of an ongoing effort to democratize the city’s data through community dashboarding and a more accessible open-data portal, Boulder will create data and technology challenges to encourage the use of city and community data. These challenges are dynamic competitions intended to focus the creative and entrepreneurial talent of the city to help identify and solve collective problems. Similarly, the city will partner with the local coding and tech community to host hackathons—events that focus intense programming attention toward a collaborative solution to a single, discrete issue. Taken together, this approach taps into two powerful behavioral motivators—competition and collaboration—to find solutions to particularly complex resilience issues.

Equitable and measurable community engagement

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We will do this by developing principles for community engagement in Oakland, pursuing the Partners for Places Equity Pilot to support ongoing collaborative engagement, and improving use of metrics to promote equitable outcomes.

Identify additional targeted air quality improvements through data analysis and community engagement

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Since December 2008, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has monitored criteria for air pollutants at street-level sites around the city through the New York City Community Air Survey. This survey has provided essential data to design sound policy and inform research. Pursuant to available funding, DOHMH will seek to build on this success by developing a community air quality “citizen-science” toolkit that will include how-to guides for accessing available data on emission sources, designing neighborhood air pollution surveys using new, low-cost technologies, and sharing data online. DOHMH also plans to expand its Environment and Health Data Portal to incorporate neighborhood-level sustainability indicators, create a neighborhood- level “Sustainability and Health” report, and develop an educational module on sustainability and health for outreach in public schools and CBOs. These efforts can provide valuable data on air pollution hot-spots and local emissions sources that may be used to inform future control measures beyond those proposed in this plan.

Inclusive Development Plan for City Resilience

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"Cam­bridge has em­braced a re­si­li­ence and low-car­bon fo­cus in cre­at­ing its over­all urban de­vel­op­ment strategy, En­vi­sion Cam­bridge. The new roadmap will de­velop and design policy re­com­mend­a­tions on a broad range of top­ics such as hous­ing and af­ford­ab­il­ity, mo­bil­ity, eco­nomic op­por­tun­ity, and urban form, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on cli­mate and the en­vir­on­ment. As cit­izen in­volve­ment is key to the plan’s suc­cess, the city is em­ploy­ing a num­ber of cre­at­ive en­gage­ment strategies to re­duce bar­ri­ers to par­ti­cip­a­tion in con­sulta­tion ses­sions, en­sur­ing di­verse com­munit­ies have a voice in the pro­cess. Strategies in­clude provid­ing trans­lat­ors and child­care dur­ing con­sulta­tion ses­sions and bring­ing the pro­cess dir­ectly to com­munit­ies though mo­bile meet­ings. As Cam­bridge aims to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by 80% by 2050, En­vi­sion Cam­bridge es­tab­lished a num­ber of com­ple­ment­ary tar­gets, in­clud­ing de­creas­ing trans­port­a­tion emis­sions by re­du­cing vehicle own­er­ship 15% be­low 1990 levels by 2020 and in­creas­ing solar photo­vol­taic gen­er­a­tion ca­pa­city to 160 MW by 2040." Quote from:

Neighborhood disaster preparedness liaisons

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We will foster neighbor-to-neighbor connections to advance disaster readiness and strengthen the community before and after a major disaster, when government resources and assistance may not be available immediately and socially isolated seniors and residents with disabilities are especially vulnerable. In partnership with local community leaders, we’ll identify Neighborhood Disaster Preparedness Liaisons to serve as conduits for nearby residents to provide training, information, and other support.

Participatory City

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Participatory City is a global initiative empowering local people to invent unique and innovative projects, which see them working together on ideas which make their neighbourhoods more exciting and enjoyable places to live. A large demonstration neighbourhood in London is starting in early 2017. It is intended that this neighbourhood will become a model for wellbeing, sustainability and equality. Bristol will learn from this. Key to the success of the project will be the ability of the neighbourhood to collaborate widely to bring many fresh ideas together in an open source environment.

Public Awareness Campaign

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Public awareness allows for the conscious changes to a system to be recognized and utilized by the public. In the Corpotation of Chenai, an diverse awareness campaign helps spread the virtues and benefits of using non-motorized transport on its newly redesigned roads.

Repurpose Neighbourhood Partnerships

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Local scale funding can help local communities to increase social cohesion and build local capacity. Through the Avonmouth Community Resilience Fund, Bristol is trialling a new approach, with a focus on local priorities of jobs and employment, a flourishing high street and social impact. Bristol is also involved in an EU project, URBACT, which will inform new possible models for improving neighbourhood-level resilience. Neighbourhood Partnerships are designed to allow decision-making to have an impact at a local level. Through a new approach, they can become truly representative and help to channel funding to new local research-backed initiatives, systems, and policy changes that help provide an inclusive approach to improving resilience.

Solicit public feedback

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Three scenarios, each representing a suite of actions, policies, and investment priorities, were presented to the public for feedback during Invent the Future, a public outreach campaign that took place in the summer of 2009. Based on public input and evaluation of potential outcomes from each set of strategies, CMAP combined the most positive aspects of the three scenarios to develop a preferred scenario; this preferred scenario laid the groundwork for the final policy recommendations of GO TO 2040. A wide variety of public engagement activities took place during summer 2009. Participants could choose their depth of participation, ranging from taking a two-question survey to exploring CMAP’s scenario evaluation results in detail. Opportunities were available for face-to-face contact at over fifty workshops, online participation that did not require direct interaction, or visits to CMAP booths or kiosks located around the region. The primary public engagement tool used during the summer was an interactive software tool called MetroQuest, which let users experiment with different types of transportation investments and development patterns and view the outcomes of these decisions. More details at downloadasset.aspx?id=18112

Strategic plan developed with community input

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We will engage the community in the development of a Berkeley Strategic Plan to better articulate the long-term goals that the City will work to achieve in service to the community. Every community member and City staff person will have an opportunity to participate in the strategic planning process through web-based surveys, public workshops, and other events.

“Citizen science” program to foster knowledge co-creation

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Citizen science can take many forms, but as technologies have advanced over the last decade, each member of the community can now serve as independent, mobile data-collecting participants. To harness this potential, the city will develop the information architecture necessary to support community-driven mobile science applications and translate that data into information and metrics to inform city decision-making. The aggregation of information from so many data points can create new insights into changes in the community, collective behavior or climate, as examples. By relying on community members to play a role in the creation of data and shared knowledge, Boulder will foster co-ownership in understanding the factors of change affecting us all. The underlying architecture will be openly available to the public to creatively develop applications to support data collection from sources as diverse as the Boulder Valley School District to Boulder’s active and enthusiastic outdoor community.