Public Engagement

Make the community feel heard and valued.

Image for Public Engagement

When you involve the community, you have a stronger chance of being welcomed — and a better chance of your plan getting approved by government officials. We facilitate public engagement that provides value to the community and to your organization. We’ll collaborate seamlessly with your land-use attorney and planning firm to continually gather input and determine how it can be incorporated into the plan.

Work with us


Imagine Clearwater planning meeting

Planning

Transformative or contentious projects need to involve public engagement early. By involving a public engagement firm, the developer, planning company and land-use attorney can have a full understanding of the challenges that impact the success of the project.

The public engagement team can take an early look at the project, identify potential landmines, and engage key stakeholders for informal discussions. Completing these steps early in the process inform the public engagement plan and provide a realistic look at the project’s prospects for success.

A group of coworkers meeting and forming a strategy

Stakeholder Communications

Effective stakeholder communications involves a lot of listening. The public engagement firm’s role is identifying the key stakeholders, their hot-button topics and developing a strategy for effective one-on-one conversations. Key stakeholders could range from neighborhood and HOA leaders to elected officials to business or advocacy groups.

The goal of stakeholder communications is creating advocates for the project in the community. And ongoing communication is required.

effective public engagement

Effective public meetings

Public meetings are often something that planners dread. But they’re required and they can be effective if they have a succinct overview of the project and gain meaningful input.

Effective public meetings should not be a time to “sell” your project. They’re an opportunity to get input. Instead of a long line of people standing at the microphone, give everyone a chance to provide input in a constructive, helpful way.

Charettes for public meetings

Charettes

Charettes are one avenue to use to get meaningful input on a project. The structure creates an opportunity for large groups to provide feedback that’s focused on certain aspects of the project that planners can use.

Charettes can be helpful in gaining public input on aspects of a project like density, mix of uses, access points, and recreational activities. As with all input, it’s important to look for ways to incorporate the feedback and report back on ways that the input was helpful.

Digital strategies for public engagement

Online Avenues

While it’s important to have in-person opportunities for feedback, digital tools create additional avenues to gather input on a project. Project-specific websites and social media channels can be useful tools for public engagement.

With digital tools, public engagement firms can gather feedback on specific aspects of a project, much like a person would do in a public meeting or charrette.

Media relations for public engagement

News media

News media coverage provides information to a wider audience and builds third-party credibility for a project. A targeted approach to news media outreach can help inform and influence key stakeholders, and news media coverage can be sent to key stakeholders and used on project-specific websites and on social media channels.

Some media coverage might be viewed as contentious, but it’s important to be proactive – rather than avoid it – for an opportunity for fair coverage. Experienced public engagement professionals can prepare developers for difficult questions that might be asked about a project or how the project might impact certain neighborhoods.

When is Public Engagement helpful?

Developers and planning firms should involve public engagement experts early in the planning process.
Public engagement can be useful when:

  • Neighbors are upset or concerned
  • Governmental approval is needed
  • It’s difficult to reach consensus between interest groups
  • There’s a need to dispel incorrect information or misinformation
  • A transformative opportunity is on the line

Public Engagement Case Studies

View All
Aerial shot of Clearwater Beach, FL

Imagine Clearwater plan (Public Engagement)

What do you do with 66 acres on Clearwater’s waterfront? Challenge B2…

Read More
HART Regional Transit Feasibility Plan

Regional Transit Feasibility Plan (Public Engagement)

How do you gain support for a transit plan? Challenge Tampa Bay…

Read More
Bending Arc by Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman sculpture (Public Engagement)

How do you demonstrate community support for public art when a small…

Read More

Think we can help?

Let’s talk about your challenges and goals and see if we’re a good fit.