Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Begining - Project Specific Blog

To get the PUBLIC involved in decision making and guiding the development of their communities, Planners use many different engagement and PUBLIC participation processes. Here PUBLIC refers to both the openness with which the activity is undertaken and the community of stakeholders involved.

Typical processes seek to make information accessible and understandable, and provide insights through dialog. Planners do this because we know that the end users and beneficiaries of our work, the PUBLIC, have a great deal at stake - the livability of their communities; the livability of OUR communities.

At the beginning of this year I decided to undertake a new approach to community engagement, having identified the problems with current methods as I stated in my previous post (The Public Realm and Participation). I was designing the process for a major update to the Subdivision Code for the City of Oak Harbor Washington as I had done for their Design Regulations a few years earlier.

The greatest difference was that this time I designed the process to address those many PUBLIC participation issues and developed the first municipal Planning blog of its kind - a project specific blog that acted as the community engagement platform for the entire project (

This blog is more than just email on steroids or the typical editorial rantings. It incorporates visual communication and multi-media; integrates accountability; and is an integral part of a project with action research methods built right into the process. I will describe the blog's details, function, successes, and challenges in greater depth in future posts. A video, posted on the blog helps describe it in simple terms. Any thoughts?

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