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Reaching Out, Reaching In
A Guide to Creating Effective Public Participation
for State Historic Preservation Programs

Barry R. Lawson, Ellen P. Ryan, and Rebecca Bartlett Hutchison
Web Edition 2002 (originally published in 1993)


Reaching Out,
Reaching In

Table of Contents

A Note on the Authors

Section 1. Reaching Out
Section 2. Preservation Vision 2000
Section 3. Reaching In

Sources in Public Participation

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SLHR 2002

Section 1 -- Reaching Out
Creating Viable Public Participation Programs

Chart 2
A Guide to the Use of
Selected Consultation Methods

Consultation Technique

Purposes &

& Cautions

Example of
Effective Use

Advisory Committee Workable forum of people, representing larger population. Serves as source of, or sounding board for, new ideas, policies, services; possible source of support, volunteers, and advocates. Unwieldy if too large, not well chosen, managed, or supported. Costly if travel times and costs are high. Requires concise and explicit definition of role and commitment by staff. Excellent for testing waters on new initiatives. Can provide "intelligence" on issues and political factors, review of draft materials, and discussion of program.
Public Meeting For information and consultation at the same event. Useful for appearing "in touch with" the public. Impersonal if too large; may frustrate those unable to be as involved as they would wish. Requires good information available to attendees in advance, and prepared response to public concerns and comments. Presenting draft plans or program proposals to, and receiving comment from, large groups. Should be supplemented by written information and audio-visual material.
Public Hearing Formal, often legally mandated structure for receiving official comments on policy initiatives, draft plans, etc. Adds dignity to public input, and provides verbatim transcript of comments and testimony. Intimidating for some people, and discourages "give and take" with the public on issues requiring discussion and clarification. Appropriate when legally required or when preceded by information program so attention at hearing is concentrated on people’s opinions rather than on questions.
Workshop Opportunity for face-to-face discussion and exchange of ideas, problems, and solutions. Best for smaller audiences. Requires thoughtful workshop design, facilitator(s), an informed group of participants, and a prepared response to public concerns and comments. Ideal for more active involvement in planning process, for discussing complex programs, plans, and policies.
Questionnaire Surveys, Opinion Polls Relatively inexpensive mechanism for learning the views and perspectives of a wide range of people and organizations. Requires careful design and concern for respondents, as well as respondent profile. Summary of conclusions should be available to the public. Option for determining general interest in program initiatives, historic preservation values, and priorities. Should have closed- and open-ended questions.
Advice from Other Agencies Through small meetings and discussion sessions, good for collecting insight and building leverage and support within administrative and political system. Requires commitment and mutual collaboration to be effective. Useful for developing an effective strategy for gaining agency support for programs and policies, especially those that require the cooperation of other agencies.

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