There’s always a right tool for the right job. Bad guy on a perch? Batarang. Opinionated community too busy to attend meetings? Online / social media / smart phone public engagement tools. Falling from a Gotham City skyscraper? Grappling gun. Lots of children at community meeting? Building block exercise and dot stickers.
WRT planners, architects, landscape architects, and urban designers have a 50-year track record of successful community engagement. If there is one takeaway from our experience, it is this: there is no one community engagement tool that works in all communities for all types of projects.
We’ve done everything from kitchen table focus groups to large multimedia community engagement “productions” for hundreds of citizens. From the outset, it is key to work with the client group to understand the demographic and cultural profile of the community in a well-defined community engagement plan. Then, you make sure you equip yourself with the best community engagement tools that address the unique characteristics of the place and project. Even then, you sometimes have to improvise special tools on the fly.
In our Batcave office, we have over 20 different community engagement tools that we’re constantly refining and learning from.