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Public Participation

Public participation techniques

QuestionAnswer
How to develop a public participation strategy:
Determine the goals and objectives of the participation program. Common objectives include eliciting ideas and information from the public; educating the public; reviewing proposals; resolving conflicts; and identifying attitudes.
Ascertain the specific people or groups who should be participating in the programs
Determine when and where public participation is required in the project.
Explain the specific objectives for each program participant
Identify different participation processes and methods that are capable of fulfilling goals and objectives as well as the resources necessary to use them.
Choose and apply the best processes and methods
Assess the effectiveness of processes and methods, and determine whether or not the methods fulfilled goals and objectives
Participatory Process Events and techniques designed to involve community residents within the planning process, such as public hearings, surveys, focus groups, charretts, etc. Should be done early in the planning process and continued throughout entire process.
Public Hearings A single, formal meeting. Participants present info, share their concerns, and offer assertions of fact - all of which are recorded as public record. Unless hearings are required by law (usually are), they should be avoided - dominated by interest groups
Public Meetings Generally large, informal gatherings where participants can address the audience. May or may not be a legal requirement to create an agenda, or to record and publish the statements and info presented. Least effective community participation tool bc
Public Meetings (cont.) can have polarizing effect on the participants and offers an opportunity to "grandstand" rather than to address the issues.
Visioning A participatory process in which the residents of a community collaborate to develop goals and policies for its future. Normally occurs at the beginning of the process and entails workshops, meetings, and other participatory stuff.
Visioning (cont.) Participants should not focus on current problems; rather, should envision an ideal state for the community in 10 years. Using this information, planners can devise objectives and propose changes.
Focus Group A small, informal meeting which a trained moderator guides the discussion and elicits opinions. Moderator is seeking to educate the group on the goals and strategies for existing plans, to determine reactions, needs and concerns regarding development
How to conduct a focus group identify participants (specific stakeholder group); acquire participants; prep the room; devise questions; find a trained moderator; conduct session; write down impressions on the session immediately after its over; submit a report
Citizen Advisory Committee Normally consist of less than 25 people. Each person speaks on behalf of a certain interest, provides a particular expertise, or gives insight into a jurisdictional service. Using info provided, planners will create objectives and devise courses of action
Delphi Technique aka Delphi Survey, designed to obtain consensus and acquire info from experts in different fields. Uses questionnaires distributed to each participant in a series of rounds. Each subsequent round is intended to clarify info acquired in the previous round
Charrette Highly-focused, collaboration between planners, designers, professionals, and citizens. Lasts several days, has a single goal or issue, such as designing a building or planning an neighborhood.
Charrette (cont.) characteristics Finding and creating a studio workspace open to the public so citizens may view ideas and concepts that are being created. Holding the first public kickoff meeting and workshop. Creating various designs and plans through a series of collaborative efforts
Charrette (cont.) characteristics Revising designs and plans, and then presenting them to the community through a public meeting. Holding the final public meeting to review the final design or plan. This usually occurs one month after the charrette started.
Polls and Surveys (advantages) Provide quantitative measure of public opinion and have the following advantages: offer greater statistical certainty than other types of processes. Involve people who normally do not participate in public events, and find inconvenient to attend meetings
Polls and Surveys (shortcomings) Only accurate immediately after taken bc public opinion changes. Weigh all participants equally when in reality certain participants are more knowledgeable than others. Convey a false sense of quantitative/scientific certainty when conducted inaccurately
Poll Trained interviewer will ask each participant the same set of predetermined questions. Participants are chosen randomly from a sample population using a prescribed method designed to eliminate bias and increase statistical validity.
Survey A trained interviewer may ask different questions based on the responses offered by participants. Surveys are more flexible than polls, but lack the statistical validity of a poll.
Mail Survey Provide responses at a very slow rate, which can diminish the reliability of the info. They do not require the services of a trained interviewer, and can be completed whenever the participant has time.
Email Email/web-based surveys are administered online. They are inexpensive, do not require services of a trained interviewer, and can be completed whenever the participant has time. They exclude people w/o internet access or software that block out mass emails
Telephone Surveys Can be conducted inexpensively and quickly. A trained interviewer must ensure that each questionnaire asks the same questions in precisely the same manner. Persons with caller ID, unlisted numbers, and no telephone service are excluded.
In-person Interviews In-person interviews are an excellent method of acquiring a sampling of personal opinion and other qualitative data. In-person interviews tend to be expensive because they require sizeable staffs and well-trained personnel to carry out effectively.
Created by: jlongabaugh