Tom Miller concludes his article on citizen surveys by covering the importance of: asking the right persons; testing the survey; and then conducting the survey, checking for bias, and interpreting the results
Public Participation Techniques
We’ve published many articles on citizen participation methods, from phone trees to opinion surveys. PlannersWeb columnist Della Rucker is also focusing on public participation in her current series.
Part 3 of Miller’s article on citizen surveys considers how to select the target population; appropriate survey size; and questions to ask in surveys — and how to ask them. Includes sidebar on drawbacks in phone and web-based surveys.
In Part 2, Tom Miller discusses his first three rules for conducting a citizen survey: determining why it is needed; how much to spend; and putting a team in place to develop and conduct the survey.
A scientifically conducted survey of residents brings in the voice of the public to bear on planning issues like no forum, newspaper straw poll, or focused discussion.
Citizen participation is enough of a challenge in any city — but how do you deal with engaging citizens when 42% of your population is foreign-born, with people speaking many different languages?
Attorney Alan C. Weinstein provides an overview of how to avoid violating Open Meetings laws — including situations that are particularly troublesome: meetings in executive session, site-visits, “informal” meetings with staff, and electronic communications.
An introduction to the goals and structure of open meeting laws — including a look at the key question: what constitutes a “meeting”?
What do street intersections have to do with strong neighborhoods and empowered citizens? Aren’t intersections just for dividing up blocks, and getting traffic through? Take a look at a program that’s turned intersections on their head.
Stuart Andreason provides highlights from the “Technicity” course — about the good, the bad, and the unknown of using technology for public engagement.
As your commission, your department, or your local government start using social media tools more and more, it’s essential to look at these with a clear, un-awed eye … and realize that the tools we need to do our work well require much more than just a Facebook page.
PlannersWeb columnist Della Rucker’s first video cast is a conversation with Chris Haller of Urban Interactive Studio about the new world of planning project web site development — and a look at his firm’s “Engaging Plans” web site tool.
Our national public discourse hasn’t been very good at real discussion lately. Even on TV news shows that claim to be “discussing” issues, what you too often hear is people talking over and shouting past each other. But planning commissions can set a positive example in public hearings and meetings.
We claim in local government to want to have the community involved — we call it “public engagement” or “public feedback” or “stakeholder involvement” — but the fact is, most of the time we’re paying lip service to the idea, at best if we want to find solutions to the complex, tangled issues we face — we need dialogue, we need collaborators.