Engaging with the public and stakeholders in a meaningful way that creates a dynamic feedback loop and informs our work is a central tenet to our collaborative approach.
Foursquare ITP knows that incorporating input from stakeholders and the public is key to the success of any project, as it contextualizes analytics and adds stories and ground truths to our work. As planners we believe that outreach and engagement should be inextricably tied to the technical components of any project, and we value and know how to build inclusive and equitable engagement strategies. We are not a public outreach firm, and we do not conduct outreach and engagement for plans or projects in which we are not actively engaged with the planning work—rather, we lead engagement, outreach, and education as part of the projects for which we are planning.
Our engagement philosophy is centered on inclusion, equity, and ensuring that every touchpoint has a purpose that is integrated into the planning process:
- We prioritize inclusion and equity: The more varied the input, the richer the product. We create strategies to reach all segments of the population – transit riders, non-riders, racial and ethnic minorities, low-income people, youth, seniors, persons with disabilities, and people dependent on transit.
- We adapt to audience need: We recognize that everyone engages in different ways. People have different schedules, different preferred methods of engagement (e.g., online, in person at scheduled workshops, informal events in the community), different levels of education, different needs for disability accommodation, and people speak different languages. Our engagement approach is flexible to adapt to the needs of the community.
- We leverage key stakeholders: We work with our clients to ensure that groups with a stake in the project are appropriately engaged. Communication and collaboration between groups such as cities and counties, transit agencies, and regional planning bodies is key. We also engage community-based organizations who know what is important to the communities they serve, which makes our public outreach relevant and engaging.
- We establish clear objectives and use a straightforward approach: Each round of outreach and touchpoint with the public and stakeholders should clearly state the learning objectives as well as how the input received will inform decisions as the plan or project progresses.