1. Get the community
Include the public throughout
the course of a project by making them part of the information gathering
and decision making process. Form a task force to act as a governing
body; recruit volunteers to help in outreach or for special events;
and plan and host gatherings such as workshops or meetings. Raise
awareness about the planning effort through presentations, press
releases and other written and verbal communication tools.
Each of the following
steps relies upon bringing together a broad cross-section of individuals
and organizations. This is important for making sure diverse interests
are represented; it is also crucial for building support and developing
a strong constituency.
2. Understand the
Document the natural,
historical, cultural, archeological, recreational and scenic resources;
public services; population and socioeconomic characteristics; facilities
and transportation patterns or other information that affects the
intrinsic value or negatively impacts a resource. Organize and document
the findings in reports, posters, brochures, guidebooks, or maps
that highlight key information and can be easily distributed throughout
3. Define goals
Goals are based on both
issues and the characteristics of the resource and should reflect
the attitudes of the people who live by and/or use the resource.
Brainstorm a large list, even if they are not all realistic. Try
to rephrase negative concerns and issues into brief, positive statements.
Group similar goals together and write summary statements. Be careful
about getting bogged down in finding the perfect words; yet make
sure that everyone in the room agrees with the phrasing.
4. Identify issues
Determine what threats
and challenges are currently facing a resource or making it difficult
to accomplish the projects goals. Options for collecting this information
include hosting a community-wide meeting or an intensive workshop
for a group of stakeholders, holding focus groups, and conducting
surveys. Understand the common issues and develop summary statements
that can be realistically addressed.
5. Create an action
Working with a task force
or other gathering of stakeholders, begin to consider alternative
ways to achieve the identified goals. Brainstorm ideas and be open
to new ways of doing things. After collecting a broad range of ideas,
begin to determine what actions best suit the resource and its needs
and goals. Select a few high priority actions that seem the most
likely to succeed and reserve the rest for consideration at a future
date. For each action, identify who is responsible, how the work
will be accomplished, and when it will be done.
When it is complete,
review it with all of those who participated in defining the issues,
goals, and actions. Also consider publishing highlights in a brochure,
writing a press release, making a poster, or other means to share
it with the community at large.