Public Participation in Community Decision-Making by mrsafety987


									  Public Participation in
Community Decision-Making
          CTAP Conference
          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
       Different Purposes

Is the purpose…
 – Community Building?
 – Public Information?
 – Deliberation?
 – Decision Making?
              Structure the Public
             Participation Process
 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

  Strategic   Planning
  Community     Visioning (Vision to Action)
  Interest-Based   Problem Solving
  Citizen   Advisory Committees
Strategic Planning
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.

Advantages                   Challenges
 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

 Example:
  – 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”

 Example:
  – To build a healthy community through a
    comprehensive initiative to promote
    jobs, education, and housing
 The how much of “what” will be accomplished
  by “when”

 Example:
  – 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
 Examples:
  – 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
         meeting 2008
 Community Visioning…the first step of a
 vision-to-action process
 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.
Advantages                    Challenges
 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
              growth…How do
              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
                  Step Two
 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.
                      Step 3
 Translate the Vision Map
  into prioritized objectives
 Identify existing barriers
  that are in the way of
  achieving these
  objectives (economic,
  political, social,
  knowledge, etc.)
 Develop preferred
  strategies/ approaches
  that are most likely to
  address these barriers
                    Step 4
 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
             Ground Rules

 Rules:
  – 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

Advantages                 Challenges
 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
 Stimulates creativity
 Strengthens democracy
 Leadership emerges
               Positions Are…

 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.
               Interests are…

 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
Educational quality
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 perspectives.

Advantages                 Challenges
 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?

 Master   Plans
  – 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
   Search Conferences
   Collaborative Decision Making
   Study Circles
   Deliberative Dialogue
   Public Information Outreach
   Citizen Surveys
   Youth Involvement Programs
   Public Listening
   District Council
   Community Celebrations
   Volunteerism

      (See handout for a description)
 Further Resources re Public
 Participation Tools:
Asset Mapping:
Concerns Survey:
Needs Survey:
Focus Groups:
Public Forums:
Break Out Activity
   Strategies for Enhancing
      Public Participation
 AnExample: Involving the public in a
 community master plan and capital
 budget planning and implementation
           Specific Goals
    approaches should support overall
 All
  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
 (JG facilitates)
Group C) Engaging the Public “In the Work”
 (CF facilitates)
    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”

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