"Unprecedented positive response." That is how this planner for an island city of 20,000 describes public feedback to his creating several blogs to update his community about local planning ideas and decisions. "Blogging as I am using it is not only a tool but an entirely new stage for community engagement that is adaptable for planning and design professionals, local governments and NGOs," Voight adds.
The main blog site is here. Its focus is "assisting dialogue about future subdivision regulations for our community," reads its front page. A companion site presents "the first major report on the project and uses an innovative mapping technique to present information." A third site is to "update the design regulations I wrote for the community in 2005."
Voight's colleague Cac Kamak also has two other blogs currently underway: One site is aimed at "our comprehensive park plan update –- I assist in the management of this site." The second is a blog for that project.
Got all that? Voight answered our questions about this unusually detailed effort at public engagement:
How did all of this get started? Can you provide some history? As a planner, I had developed a successful repertoire of engagement techniques for both large and small groups including: facilitating charettes and photo scavenger hunts; and, conducting roundtables, visual preference surveys, and interviews. However, I saw that the successes of these practices was limited because each represented only single events within complex processes, and the beneficial characteristics of these were not integrated throughout these processes.