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43 engagement of a greater range of participants, through enable information to be disseminated readily, and increase innovative mechanisms, targeted outreach, and ongoing the visibility and public awareness of an effort. opportunities for participants to stay involved. Feedback tools and techniques provide opportunities for Shared interest is a result of employing tools and tech- active input into a visioning process, including outreach niques that are highly collaborative or interactive, includ- through traditional and nontraditional means, as well as ing facilitation and consensus-building activities, so that innovative interactive scenario-planning support tools. participants learn about the interests of others and develop Collaborative techniques are essential to developing con- common goals to support a shared vision. sensus and encouraging active and informed engagement Decision-making influence is important for agencies involved of stakeholders, as well as developing lasting programs and in visioning because it affects the success of collaboration partnerships to help sustain a vision. and stakeholder trust in an agency. It is important for agen- cies to determine their presence and level of involvement Selection of Outreach Tools and Techniques at the outset of a process, so that the vision and associated outreach processes appropriately convey the agency role to Table 6.1 presents outreach tools and techniques with applica- stakeholders. Feedback mechanisms for public and partner tions for each relevant activity area within the reaching stake- involvement are critical to help decision makers understand holders component of the online Vision Guide. In addition, input and how that input may relate to possible changes in the matrix notes other useful criteria for selecting methods, future decisions. from cost-effectiveness to applicability for outreach to tradi- Level of commitment to a vision often depends on variables tionally underserved populations. The tools and techniques such as initial participant attitude, effectiveness of outreach also may be found on the TCAPP website (transportation techniques, and how well a collaborative process culmi- forcommunities.com). nates in a final vision. The early and continued involvement of stakeholders in a process increases the level of commit- ment and helps sustain the outcomes of a vision. Informational Techniques Public Meetings Outreach Techniques Public meetings provide opportunities to gather members and Tools of the public, agencies, and interested parties to learn more The following provides guidance on specific outreach tools about a vision process and to provide input. Meeting formats and techniques, and how a practitioner may select appropri- vary, but key elements include informative speakers and pre- ate tools within the framework of the Vision Guide. Public sentations, facilitated exchanges or group discussions, and outreach efforts are generally undertaken by the lead agency broad outreach through publicized and accessible meeting or entity involved in the visioning, but because of the broad locations. One resource for information on public meetings scope and scale of these efforts, public involvement can be a is in Chapter 2 of FHWA's Public Involvement report (U.S. cooperative venture involving any number of partners. Mul- Department of Transportation et al. 2002). tiple partners may be involved in outreach at varying levels. For example, local community groups, volunteers, citizen Speaker Bureaus teams, consultants, and others may lead specific outreach activities during a larger process, allowing more stakeholders Speakers bureaus involve volunteers or project staff who seek to be reached with higher levels of involvement. Therefore, opportunities to address public and private organizations for the purposes of this report, the public involvement coor- on behalf of a visioning process. Speakers provide additional dinator is the equivalent of the visioning practitioner, as iden- advocacy for the vision and are often visible public champions tified earlier. of an effort. Stakeholders should be given the opportunity to Although public outreach tools and techniques often serve request briefings, or staff may actively seek out stakeholders as a variety of functions, there are three primary purposes of part of a targeted outreach program. activities. These purposes are consistent with guidance from FHWA and are used to organize the examples of outreach Online Resources activities provided here: Online technologies allow the widespread dissemination of Informational techniques are critical to ensuring informed project information and innovative involvement of stake- participation. They help garner initial public interest in holders on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. involvement, support ongoing involvement opportunities, These social networks are free, quick, and accessible tools that

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44 Table 6.1. Public and Partner Involvement Tools and Techniques Preparing the Vision Creating the Vision Implementing the Vision Other Criteria Why Where How Are Where Do How Will We How Do We What Who Are Where We Will Stay We Potential Potential Addresses Doing What Is Are Our Will We We Are We Want We Get on What Have We Maintain Implementation Resource Nontraditional Outreach Tools and Techniques This? Important? Resources? Involve? Now? Going? to Be? There? Track? Accomplished? Our Vision? Cost Needs Stakeholders Informational Meetings Public meetings $$ V (Y) Speaker bureaus $$ v (Y) Online Resources Project website $$$ V Webinars and video $$ V Informative Techniques Blogs and networks $$ v E-mail lists and e-newsletters $ V Printed Materials Printings and mailings $$ v Visualizations and Maps Visualizations $$ V (Y) Media Media strategies $ v Design and Public Relations Representation and branding $$ v Traditional Feedback Techniques Opinion surveys $$ V (Y) Feedback Tools and Techniques Focus groups $$ v (Y) Community outreach $$ v (Y) Scenario Planning Software ArcGIS $$ V INDEX $$$ V MetroQuest $$$ V CommunityViz $$$ V TELUM $$ V (continued on next page)

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Table 6.1. Public and Partner Involvement Tools and Techniques (continued) Preparing the Vision Creating the Vision Implementing the Vision Other Criteria Why Where How Are Where Do How Will We How Do We What Who Are Where We Will Stay We Potential Potential Addresses Doing What Is Are Our Will We We Are We Want We Get on What Have We Maintain Implementation Resource Nontraditional Outreach Tools and Techniques This? Important? Resources? Involve? Now? Going? to Be? There? Track? Accomplished? Our Vision? Cost Needs Stakeholders PLACE3S $$ V Feedback Tools and Techniques Urban Sim $$ V What If? $$$ V Nontraditional Outreach Community events $$$ V (Y) Community leaders $ V (Y) Community canvassing $$ v (Y) Community tours $ V (Y) Interactive Techniques Public workshops $$ V (Y) Charrettes $$$ V Scenario planning games $$ V $ (Y) Collaborative Techniques Visual preferences v Stakeholder Groups Task forces $$ V Citizen advisory committees $$ v (Y) Programs and Partnerships Interagency working groups $ v Elected official forums $$ V Leadership development programs $$$ v Primary Tool/Technique Resource Needs Potential Cost to Implement Addresses Nontraditional Stakeholders (Y) v High Medium V Low $ Low $$ Medium $$$ High 45

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46 allow users to receive information and updates, exchange com- announcements, newsletters, comment cards, and other hard- ments, and communicate with others rapidly. Used in con- copy materials also provide valuable take-away materials at junction with traditional communication methods, online public meetings (see Vision into Action 2011). resources can provide a low-cost communication method to help engage the public across a broad area and encourage Visualizations and Maps interaction and discourse with the lead agencies. More and more communication now takes place online, Visuals allow a wide variety of information and complex con- and blogs and project websites provide a bridge connect- cepts to be conveyed and understood readily. Maps are often ing the public to members of the project team to answer any used to illustrate existing issues within a community, and questions, discuss concerns, and provide recommendations. visual representations can be used to inform stakeholders Online communication allows for the cost-effective dissemi- of future choices (see Metropolitan Area Planning Council nation of information to a larger population than traditional 2012). This technique also may improve communication for public outreach tools such as newspaper and radio advertise- participants with limited English or technical proficiency. ments. The use of online resources, such as the examples pro- vided here, can make the planning and decision-making process Media Strategies more transparent and allow inclusive and vibrant community- driven dialogue. Media strategies can encourage press coverage and can help Project websites enable easy access to critical information, achieve public awareness goals and increase the visibility of news and events, and key staff. When regularly maintained visioning process. Press kits, frequently asked questions and updated, websites can be used as primary means of orga- briefs, and informative materials help ensure consistent mes- nizing, publishing, communicating, or soliciting comments saging, and news releases alert reporters to opportunities for (see Vision North Texas 2011a; Vision 2030 Routt 2009). local coverage. Local public broadcasting affiliates are often Webinars and videos expand opportunities for participation. ready partners in producing and releasing informative video Hosting webinars reaches stakeholders unable to attend pub- documentaries or public access promotions about the vision. lic meetings and encourages remote participation. Archived The Central Florida regional vision effort "How Shall We meeting videos or documentary videos may be hosted easily Grow?" (myregion.org 2011b) partnered with a local public on YouTube and other video-sharing sites (see Vision North broadcasting station to produce and present a documentary Texas 2011b). (bGenesis Productions et al. 2007). Online systems such as blogs and networks allow for rapid dissemination of information and interactive involvement Representation and Branding for stakeholders. When integrated into a project website, a blog or discussion forum provides informal, frequent, and Effectively communicating and branding a visioning process widely available information on vision activities. Increas- is greatly assisted through graphic design of project logos, ingly, social networking websites are used to develop net- materials, website design, and other commissioned art. Branded works of interested parties and relay information of events materials develop a recognizable image of the visioning pro- and activities. Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's cess within the community and help generate public interest. (2012) blog GOTO2040, updates, and social network links Reality Check for Central Arizona (Urban Land Institute 2011) has used branding strategies. take this approach. Notifications through e-mail and e-newsletters provide broad and easy access to project information, news, events, Feedback Tools and Techniques and updates for stakeholders. Production is relatively in- Traditional Feedback Techniques expensive and can be accomplished with most desktop pub- lishing programs, and even integrated into a project website. Traditional feedback techniques are used to gauge community Tennessee's Cumberland Region Tomorrow (2012) uses perception of the process and gather input for the vision. Exam- e-mail blasts and news updates. ple products include online surveys, opinion polling, com- ment collection, and other direct qualitative methods such as community interviews, listening campaigns, or focus groups. Printings and Mailings Opinion surveys provide opportunities for broad or tar- Direct mailings and promotional materials inform stake- geted outreach to stakeholders concerning community val- holders. Brochures, event flyers, and opinion surveys may ues, importance of issues, preferred future direction, or the be appropriate tools when the goal is to reach every resi- selection of alternative futures. Opinion surveys may be dent or business owner in a study area. Vision brochures, made available online and in print media, or administered by

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47 a professional research organization or in partnership with a decisions on future scenarios. MetroQuest is noted for its cus- local university (see One Bay 2008). tomization and interactive elements and can be used within Community outreach can provide targeted communication workshops, online, or in public venues to allow participants with local leaders. The involvement of leaders is important to create scenarios and see changes in real-time. The program because they may provide early direction and ongoing public is fee-for-service and maintained by MetroQuest, Inc. support, contribute resources, represent diverse stakeholders, The program CommunityViz is a suite of GIS-based plan- or offer connections to traditionally underrepresented stake- ning tools that provide decision support for a range of issues, holders (see Vision PDX et al. 2006). including development, land use, transportation, and conser- Focus groups provide unique research into community vation. CommunityViz is flexible in application and commonly values and opportunities for stakeholders to describe ideas in supports scenario planning, sketch planning, 3-D visualiza- their own words. Focused research, or a listening campaign, tion, suitability analysis, impact assessment, growth model- is often used early in shaping a process and when shaping alter- ing, and other techniques used in visioning. The program is native futures or a vision statement (see Baltimore Regional fee-for-service and maintained by Placeways LLC. Transportation Board 2003). Transportation, Economic, and Land Use Model (TELUM) is an integrated interactive software package for evaluating the land use impacts of regional transportation improvement Scenario-Planning Software projects. Based on user inputs, TELUM uses current and prior Scenario-planning software includes a suite of technological data to forecast future values and spatial patterns of future tools for creating, analyzing, and communicating alternative residential, employment, and land use types. The program futures. Alternative futures engage stakeholders in actively is free to MPOs and state DOTs and is maintained by the determining a desired future based on the visualization and FHWA and New Jersey Institute of Technology. representation of future policy and development choices. A The GIS-based program Planning for Community Energy, wide variety of software tools are available to suit different Environmental, and Economic Stability (PLACE3S) is intended needs and purposes. Most planning support systems are to foster public participation and community development capable of modeling the outcomes of variables such as popu- design. Designed for local and regional governments, PLACE3S lation, employment, and housing location, as well as trans- can be applied to identify existing conditions, develop a base portation or environmental indicators. Software programs model using current policies and market trends, develop and typically require in-house technical skills or consultant sup- analyze alternatives, select a preferred alternative, and adopt, port, as well as data requirements. Most programs are implement, monitor, and revise as needed. The program is designed to be interactive and allow stakeholders to manipu- primarily used within California and maintained by the Cal- late variables, develop scenarios, and see the outcomes of dif- ifornia Energy Commission. ferent choices in real-time. The FHWA Scenario Planning UrbanSim is a GIS-based simulation system designed to website (U.S. Department of Transportation, FHWA 2011b) show interrelationships between land use, transportation, eco- articulates noteworthy practices and innovative uses of sce- nomics, and the environment and how various combinations nario planning for transportation planning. of land use and transportation policies can influence future ArcGIS is a data analysis and mapping program developed growth and trends. UrbanSim is particularly applicable for by Esri that stores, manages, and presents data, and allows projects with a focus on real estate development, housing, and advanced spatial analysis, model operations, and visualiza- business development. The program is open source and free. tion. Geographic information systems are the basis of many WhatIf? is a GIS-based planning support system used to of the planning support tools available and also can be used explore community alternative futures. The program can be independently to display and analyze technical information. used to prepare long-term land use, population, housing, and INDEX is an integrated suite of geographic information sys- employment projections for districts, political jurisdictions, tem (GIS) tools used to assess existing community conditions, and user-defined areas such as school districts and traffic design future scenarios in real time, assess scenarios with per- analysis zones. This fee-for-service program is maintained by formance indicators, and monitor implementation of adopted WhatIf?, Inc. plans. INDEX also supports implementation efforts by evalu- ating the consistency of development proposals against vision Nontraditional Outreach goals. The program is fee-for-service and maintained by Crite- rion Planners, Inc. Nontraditional outreach maximizes public awareness and MetroQuest, a GIS-based program, is a customizable and participation, particularly for underrepresented, hard-to- interactive that enables participants to change policy assump- reach, or strategically targeted populations. When identifying tions or variables and immediately see the effects of those stakeholders to include in the decision-making process, it is

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48 crucial to direct energy into identifying and then designing Collaborative Techniques outreach methods for nontraditional stakeholders. These Interactive stakeholders are typically those groups that are difficult to reach and are not usually included in the process. This group Interactive techniques encourage collaboration, consensus, may consist of minorities, low-income families, people with and ownership among participants. Facilitated techniques disabilities, populations with limited English proficiency, and commonly include small group discussions, workshops, or the elderly. Reasons for noninvolvement could include a con- scenario-planning activities intended to provide participants flict between the time of an event and family or work respon- hands-on experience in creating alternative futures, estab- sibilities; the format in which project-related information is lishing community values, developing goals, or other tan- presented; or lack of access to meeting locations. Young pro- gible outcomes. Interactive techniques may be used early in fessionals and youth may also be nontraditional stakeholders a visioning process to provide direction and gather perspec- in long-term visioning processes. Many vision efforts specifi- tives from stakeholders. In mid-process, these techniques cally conduct outreach to elementary schools, even holding may help develop alternative futures or arrive at a solution to contests for children to imagine and draw their own concepts a specific problem. Late in a process, this level of interaction for the future. Young professionals are commonly the least may be useful in resolving an impasse, or reaching consensus active in public processes but have the greatest stake in long- on a shared vision. term visions. Youth organizations are often organized by Public workshops provide opportunities for interaction chambers of commerce or university alumni associations and among community members, project sponsors, and additional can be targeted for involvement. stakeholders and are among the most common techniques The outreach methods listed below, when used in conjunc- used in visioning. Organized public workshops are valuable tion with other tools and techniques discussed in this chapter, opportunities to vet ideas and obtain meaningful public feed- can be used to help build strong relationships through the cre- back. Most workshops include informational presentations, ation of safe and respectful environments for discussion and facilitated group discussions, and interactive techniques to the distribution of project-related information to better pre- encourage stakeholders to collaborate on community values pare and educate all interested parties and provide opportu- and objectives, desired future outcomes, specific challenges nities for meaningful involvement. These approaches are a and solutions, and alternative futures. Interactive activities sample of techniques that could be used to reach out to non- may include scenario planning, visualizations, discussions, traditional stakeholders. role-playing games, and myriad other exercises. Community events provide forums for informing, receiv- Charrettes are intensive, collaborative sessions in which ing feedback, and collaborating with stakeholders. Nontradi- a group drafts a solution to a given challenge (see Missoula tional settings include shopping centers, community fairs, Redevelopment Agency and Office of Planning & Grants sporting events, public school activities, religious and non- 2007; Dover, Kohl & Partners and Duany Plater-Zyberk & profit gatherings, and any event that draws a number of peo- Company n.d.). Often used for design or architectural topics, ple to a public space. Traditional options for meetings and they have been used successfully in visioning processes to craft events, such as schools, public buildings, and libraries often alternative scenarios. These are resource- and time-intensive have the benefit of accessible and inexpensive meeting space, efforts, requiring facilitation, mediation, and support. but they may not offer the same opportunities to engage Scenario planning games, such as Transopoly (Center groups on their own terms. for Neighborhood Technology 2001), allows participants an Community leader outreach includes strategically identi- opportunity to create alternate futures and select preferences. fied key civic, political, environmental, or institutional lead- There are many variations, although most involve role-playing, ers, and provides opportunities to discuss a visioning process decision-making exercises, or strategy development. In some and solicit feedback. Input from community leaders, particu- games, small working groups place markers, icons, or Legos larly representatives of groups traditionally underrepresented representing population, employment, or housing on a map in public involvement, may be an effective means for project to create future scenarios. Transportation networks are often staff to learn of and address concerns. represented using strings to connect population and employ- Community canvassing involves the distribution of promo- ment markets. These activities also may give the participant a tional materials, in-person opinion surveying, or requests for view into funding or implementation challenges. participation by project staff in public places. This approach Visual preferences such as surveys or images are intended may require substantial staff resources, but it may be particu- to elicit response and establish common ground among par- larly helpful in reaching underrepresented populations. ticipants when forming a future vision. Typically, illustrative Community tours are commonly used activities intended examples of a concept, design, community form, or future to engage and educate stakeholders or leaders directly in scenario are presented, and participants are asked to identify shared, real experiences within the community. visual preferences. Interactive variations include workshops,