There are many examples of innovative public engagement strategies in the State of Delaware.
The Dover/Kent County MPO’s Virtual Video Tour of 2014 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) projects includes instructions and an overview of TIP features, clickable map pins on a Google map, and video tours of eleven sites.
WILMAPCO offers free, interactive Walkable Community Workshops for New Castle County communities interested in improving their pedestrian routes. Workshop participants learn about assessing walkability, take a walking tour of the study area, and identify priorities and methods to make local pedestrian thoroughfares safer and more convenient.
The video below, developed by Lee Ann Walling in partnership with WILMAPCO, shows the walkable community workshop process.
DelDOT holds both regular and virtual public workshops for public updates and feedback on transportation projects. A virtual public workshop is a Web page that includes information about a proposed transportation project with an added bonus—the public is able to submit a project‐specific questionnaire or survey directly online. As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, DelDOT accommodates persons with disabilities and other special needs at workshops.
When new codes were needed in Bethany Beach on residential renewable energy use, planners mailed out a survey, received ample community feedback, and drafted three ordinances in all. These drafts were then reviewed and revised line-by-line at workshops for industry stakeholders and interested citizens. The resulting ordinances were met with widespread approval.
Over 18 months, the City of Newark’s Comprehensive Plan Review has involved outreach, public information, visioning sessions, open houses and workshops on housing, transportation, neighborhoods, land use and economic development. The culmination of public involvement in the planning process is the City Council’s adoption of the Comprehensive Development Plan V.
Apps and Websites
The City of Newark website features downloadable apps for residents. The Citizen Request Tracker allows users to send the city photographs, GPS locations and text descriptions of issues, and then track the city’s response
The City of Dover‘s website features a community calendar, connections to city social media, newsletters, and RSS feeds. At the website’s Citizen Action Center, visitors can ask questions, find answers, make requests, and track their interactions with government. These features can promote public engagement efforts such as Dover’s 2010 charrette.
The City of Wilmington’s Report It, Resolve It app allows residents to use their mobile devices to submit a non-emergency request for service (e.g., pothole), or complaint to be resolved by the Public Works Department.
Delaware’s Government Information Center is developing eGovernment apps for mobile device and computer use. Users of the Delaware State Parks app can search a state parks database, access quick-reference maps, record data during park visits (photos, waypoint markers, and routes), and easily reach park staff.
Several initiatives at the University of Delaware use GIS tools for public engagement. The Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative uses Community Viz to analyze, map, model and present data for planning workshops and projects.
Delaware state agencies and departments are active on social media. On Twitter and Facebook, DNREC and the DDA transmit an appealing mixture of announcements, graphics, and links. Other notable accounts include Economic Development’s Flickr album, DelDOT’s YouTube account, and the Geographic Data Committee’s blog.
Towns in Delaware have also joined social media. 12,500 people see posts on the Rehoboth Beach Facebook or Twitter feeds, and the Downtown Newark Partnership connects on Twitter and Facebook to 1,600 followers. These towns typically post visuals and brief text messages a few times a week to promote local businesses, events, meetings, and achievements.