Tools and Resources for Public Engagement

Bubbl

Bubbl is an easy-to-use platform for collaborative brain storming and mind mapping.

Doodle

Doodle is a scheduling tool perfect for making public hearings and workshops visible on an online calendar.

Toolstoengage.com

Toolstoengage is devoted to showcasing the many tools planners and local governments can employ for the purpose of public engagement.

GovLoop 

GovLoop is the “Knowledge Network for Government.” It is the premier social network connecting over 150,000 federal, state, and local government innovators. GovLoop curates a newsletter and houses useful articles on a variety of common issues facing local governments. The site picks up the best articles from a variety of sources and compiles them onto top-centered web pages. This site is perfect for staying up to date on the latest trends.

Governing Magazine (crowd sourcing)

This article discusses crowdsourcing in the public sector as a method to engage an online community to identify or develop innovative solutions to public problems. Crowdsourcing uses a mix of a traditional top-down, hierarchical process with a bottom-up, grass roots approach via online methods. Many state and local governments are using crowdsourcing initiatives to engage the public, and provide better services by leveraging the knowledge of the community online.

Community Matters® 

CommunityMatters® is a program of the Orton Family Foundation, which seeks to empower people to shape the future of their communities through the Community Heart & Soul method of community development. Community Matters disseminates information on a variety of disciplines related to local governance via its blog, conference calls, and an e-newsletter. One area of focus for the organization is improving the civic engagement efforts of local governments.

Engaging Cities

Engaging Cities is an online magazine that shares creative strategies and new technologies to foster public engagement for livable communities.

Granicus

Granicus is a package of online community engagement tools. These tools give citizens greater means to communicate with their public officials, and also help officials manage the input they receive. Other benefits include integration with social media sites and data analytics.

Delaware Resources

Delaware Office of State Planning Coordination

The Office of State Planning Coordination (OSPC) works to improve the coordination and effectiveness of land use decisions made by state, county, and municipal governments while building and maintaining a high quality of life in the State of Delaware. OSPC provides a wide range of planning assistance to local governments through its “circuit-rider planners.”

Delaware Department of Transportation

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) strives to achieve excellence in transportation through public outreach activities that result in an open, meaningful, and informative interaction among its stakeholders. DelDOT uses a combination of high-touch, high-techniques, to engage and inform Delawareans about transportation-related projects and programs. It provides an annual customer service survey, in-person and virtual workshops, a DelDOT App with real time information for Delaware roadways, interactive information via social media, and live video feeds for Division of Motor Vehicles wait times.

Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization

The Dover/Kent County MPO is the federally-designated agency responsible for coordinating transportation planning and programming in Kent County, Delaware, including all of Milford and Smyrna. Links to more information on its projects and programs that engage the public can be found on its website.

State of Delaware Government Information Center

The State of Delaware’s Government Information Center  provides assistance to local governments, including designing and hosting some local government websites and hosting and leading a Municipal Web Developer’s Group to foster inter-governmental discussion and collaboration.

University of Delaware

As an engaged university, the University of Delaware work closely with public agencies throughout the state, applying research and human talent to address pressing social and civic issues. More than 70 research centers and institutes across the UD campus reflect the diversity and rigor of its research activity and commitment to improving the quality of life in Delaware and beyond.

For example, the Institute for Public Administration (IPA), within the School of Public Policy and Administration, offers programs, training, and resources to build capacity of Delaware local government officials. The IPA’s online Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox provides a video that examines community engagement techniques in the digital age. This video explores the nexus for public participation in community planning, the difference between high-tech and high-touch engagement strategies, and case study examples from planning organizations in the region. IPA’s Delaware Planning Education Program provides educational courses designed to meet the responsibilities of municipalities as partners in the state’s strategies for policies and spending initiative. IPA’s Conflict Resolution Program (CRP) is a resource center dedicated to supporting transformational and organizational change in nonprofit, public, government, and educational settings. CRP provides training, facilitates meetings, and promotes effective communication, collaborative problem-solving, organizational development, and alternative dispute resolution.

UD’s Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative is an approach to address growth, land use, and environmental impacts in southern Delaware. Its website provides tools and visualization techniques for engaging communities and stakeholders in planning for the specific needs of coastal communities.

WILMAPCO

The Wilmington Area Planning Organization believes that a core feature of its mission is public outreach. The following links illustrate the breadth of their work with the public.

National Resources

Alliance for Innovation

The Alliance for Innovation’s focus is discovering ways for local governments to adopt innovative practices. Its website has details on these practices as well as a question-and-answer tool so that government officials can get input from others or share their experiences.

International City/County Management Association

ICMA’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build better communities. It is committed to providing the best resources for public engagement to local leaders. Its website has up-to-date links, resources, and tools, all explained in digestible language.   ICMA’s Knowledge Network provides and informative report on Public Pathways: A Guide to Online Engagement for Local Gov Leaders. It analyzes 20 online tools that are being used by local governments across the nation. The report also provides feedback from local government leaders on what works, and how to build a framework for evaluating the success of any new public engagement tool or strategy.

ICMA’s National Citizen Survey is designed for use by local governments to obtain citizen feedback. It’s customizable, so when presented to citizens, it asks them questions relevant to their specific community. The results measure public opinion in eight key areas of livability that help government officials make meaningful changes in their communities.

National Charrette Institute

The National Charrette Institute offers trainings and additional information for community leaders wishing to conduct charrettes in their own communities.

National League of Cities

The NLC puts its focus squarely on regional and local governments. Its website shares innovative ideas, summarizes the latest research into short articles, and provides detailed examples of how municipalities have overcome challenges in public engagement.

U.S. Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s website lists and explains best practices for informing the public through outreach and organization. This resource also gives specific suggestions for tailoring public engagements to populations typically undeserved by the process.


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