This deserves a blog post. Below is a great tweet by Jason Thorne. Jason leads the department of planning and economic development at the City of Hamilton, where, full disclosure, we have a development project.
I have said this many times before on the blog, but the challenge with most “community engagement” is that cities typically hear from the people who disagree. Those voices are then taken as representative.
My gut tells me that we need to make it easier for people to agree. We need to reduce the barriers. Some will take the time to write a thoughtful letter. But most won’t.
Brandon this article makes me think about the workplace. Many managers are quick to point out the things that employees are doing wrong but rarely will they invite an employee into their office to congratulate them on a job well done. Over the years I heard this so frequently from employees.
This is great, and definitely we’re short on more positivity, especially when the projects are good infill developments that will unquestionably benefit the neighborhood. We have a similar situation with a mixed use infill development in Westdale, Hamilton. Most feedback so far has been overwhelmingly negative saying it’s too much density. We had one very positive feedback from a neighbor feeling our project is excellent for the community. The majority of voices we heard have been negative, but I suspect there are more who see the project in a positive light, but afraid to put it out there for fear of ostracism from their neighbors.
Brandon I have survived a million public meetings and have to concur that 90% of the attendees are usually the ones with negative comments. The structure of the meetings (head table that protects presenters and with large audience that offers protection for hollerers) usually encourages this. HOWEVER for some time there have been tools in existence which address this issue and it is now possible to get informed and balanced input and for many to give this input online at a time convenient to them, One of the best tools for this is (of course) Canadian https://metroquest.com/ Participants can do all sorts of things including exploring what if scenarios to see what the outcome of their comments might be instead of just hollering at the head table about the usual list of concerns (decreased property value, increased traffic, noise and shading, school capacity and on and on),