Public Participation in
September 29, 2007
–Jim Gruber, Antioch New England Institute
–Michele Gagne, UNH Cooperative Extension
–Charlie French, UNH Cooperative Extension
–Dan Reidy, UNH Cooperative Extension
Why Engage the Public?
To identify and assist in addressing community needs
To educate and empower citizens so they can more fully
understand the complexities of issues you must address
To educate decision-makers
To broaden the asset base
To make implementation more likely by building ownership
of the citizens on the agreed upon approach
To build accountability and effective feedback
Different Approaches of
Community Engagement for
Is the purpose…
– Community Building?
– Public Information?
– Decision Making?
Structure the Public
Determine the purpose of the Process
Determine the Role of the Public
Identify and Involve Key Stakeholders
Determine how to engage the public
Develop a process
Build Accountability (how will info be used)
Public Participation Approaches
Community Visioning (Vision to Action)
Interest-Based Problem Solving
Citizen Advisory Committees
Strategic planning enables a group to come to a
shared vision of its desired future and to create a
detailed, participant-owned plan of action.
Brings community Requires skilled facilitator
together around issues Participants may get
Results-oriented process frustrated with the process
Addresses both short There is not always
and long-term issues consensus re objectives
Components of plan and strategies
adoptable by other plans Results may be long term
“Dream” of where the community/group
wants to be far in the future
– Our town is committed to improving the quality
of life for our residents by building a community
in which all people have access to economic
opportunity, the ability to pursue that
opportunity, and a voice in the decisions that
affect their lives.
The “what” and “why”
– To build a healthy community through a
comprehensive initiative to promote
jobs, education, and housing
The how much of “what” will be accomplished
– Quality Affordable Housing is housing that is free of
significant structural defects, meets the basic living needs of
residents, and is reasonably safe and secure. To be
“affordable,” the cost to live in quality housing should be
within the financial reach of residents (30 percent of income)
at various income levels. Quality affordable housing must be
profitable for the builder, developer, landlord, etc., or it will
not be built and/or maintained.
Strategies and Actions
The“how” and specifics of who will do what and
– The City of ---- should enforce existing health and
building codes encouraging rental property owners to
recognize problems and take action.
Form a committee to determine problem areas in town and
report this back to town committees by March 2008
Selectmen will make a determination after hearing report about
expanding code enforcement officer hours to full-time by town
Community Visioning…the first step of a
This approach can be used to either “map” the
current condition (called a mind map) or to
create a shared, collective vision of the future.
Builds a broad ownership Must have a broad
of where the community cross-section of the
wishes to go community “in the room”
Sets broad priorities of Must have a plan to
the created vision translate the vision into
Inclusive…100s can tangible objectives and
participate in one hour actions
This is only the 1st step
Step One: The Vision Map
Twenty Years form
now….if there is
you want your
community to look,
to feel, to have as a
The Vision Map
Develop a shared vision of where you
want to be in 20 years based upon:
– the characteristics of your community that
you value and wish to sustain
– changes you wish to encourage and
– changes that you wish to discourage
– prioritize key elements of the vision
Review previous successful (and unsuccessful)
approaches, actions, and events that were
effective (or not effective) with planning,
managing, and directing growth.
Assessresources currently lacking that are
needed to plan for growth.
Translate the Vision Map
into prioritized objectives
Identify existing barriers
that are in the way of
that are most likely to
address these barriers
Identifythe specific types of resources/
strategies that are needed to fill the gap
between the current resources of local
government and what are needed to achieve
the shared vision (prioritized objectives)
Revise community’s master plan, capital
budget, and other actions needed to proceed
towards prioritized objectives
– All ideas are valid
– The person with the idea says where it
– Give an example to clarify
– Everyone has one contribution before a
second contribution to the vision
– Opposing ideas are OK
Interest Based Problem Solving
Interest-Based Problem Solving is an issue-
resolution process that addresses individual and
group differences in a problem-solving
Focuses on common Not all issues can be
interests – win-win resolved
Fosters creativity Process can be frustrating
Solutions weighed with and take a long time
objective criteria Some parties intentionally
Builds leadership work to corrupt process
When you hear the word “conflict”
what images come to mind?
Positive aspects of public conflict:
Mutual gains solutions
Addresses problems and promotes action
Builds long-term relationships
Emotions – how someone feels about an issue
A pre-determined solution
Problems with positions:
Predetermined way to resolve problems.
Does not deal with interest of parties in dispute
Limits creative options.
Needs, beliefs, values behind the positions.
Why something is important.
Why focus on interests?
Gets to heart of issue.
Moves people beyond polarized positions.
Sets stage for mutual understanding.
Leads to group cooperation.
Sets stage for issue re-framing.
Sets stage for generating creative options.
Examples of interests & positions:
Cost-efficiency Community pride
Interests Value historic school
Stretch resources Educational quality
Want school Oppose school
consolidation Positions consolidation
Citizen Advisory Committee
Citizen advisory committees foster positive
relations with the community by engaging
citizens in the development of policies and
programs to ensure that they are enriched by
Diverse representation Committees often don’t
Based on local assets have jurisdictional power
Directly engages citizens Requires much time/effort
in policy-making Can suffer low return rates
How are they helpful?
Help anticipate public reaction to proposed
Provide communication to constituencies
Organize a forum for building consensus
The advisory committee becomes more
educated and their feedback is more
When are they used?
– Representative of various groups in
community with a chair to coordinate
meetings and report back to town boards
– Can work to develop public involvement
opportunities for Plan update
Even More Approaches to
Engage Community Members
Collaborative Decision Making
Public Information Outreach
Youth Involvement Programs
(See handout for a description)
Further Resources re Public
Asset Mapping: http://ctb.ku.edu/tools/en/sub_section_main_1043.htm
Concerns Survey: http://ctb.ku.edu/tools/en/sub_section_main_1018.htm
Needs Survey: http://ctb.ku.edu/tools/en/sub_section_main_1042.htm
Focus Groups: http://ctb.ku.edu/tools/en/sub_section_main_1045.htm
Public Forums: http://ctb.ku.edu/tools/en/sub_section_main_1021.htm
Break Out Activity
Strategies for Enhancing
AnExample: Involving the public in a
community master plan and capital
budget planning and implementation
approaches should support overall
community building and…
– Informs the Public (provides public
– Solicits input from the public (that
includes public deliberation processes)
– Engages the public in “the work”
(including the decision making process)
Three Break-out Groups
Group A) Informs the Public (MG facilitates)
Group B) Soliciting Input from the Public
Group C) Engaging the Public “In the Work”
Impact vs Feasibility
Each group brainstorms potential, specific
approaches of engaging the public
– both what your can do and how you can do it.
– Each approach is written on a sticky note.
– Each sticky note is placed on an “Impact vs
Feasibility Grid” (Low, Medium, or High”
feasibility and Low, Medium, and High Impact”