Since COVID-19, TSW has been adapting to new ways to conduct public engagement. Much of that focus has been on rethinking about our typical in-person exercises and strategies and how those can be adapted to a virtual setting. For some communities, virtual engagement is not as accepted, so some projects have been delayed while we wait out the pandemic, but for others, our clients are depending on us to be creative and adaptable to the situation. In this post, we dive into three of TSW’s current projects and explain how virtual engagement tactics are limitless, engaging and fun, and can really be effective for any community.
Peachtree City LCI
TSW has been working on the Peachtree City Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) since December 2019. We are in the middle of the concept design phase for potential redevelopment sites, which makes engagement with the public even more crucial. Although the City has a large senior population, we are finding ways to engage residents online while we all need to stay at home. We held our Core Team meeting virtually on ZOOM to review the first draft of the concept plans on Monday (here).
The Core Team expressed concern about hosting virtual meetings for the public because of the age of the population. However, our online survey results have shown that the vast majority of online survey-takers are over the age of 50. Now, we are using this time to find ways to engage the younger population in Peachtree City using social media! Next up is a social media contest for high school students to talk about their experiences in Peachtree City, answering three simple questions, sharing a photo from their favorite memory growing up in Peachtree City, and lastly, tagging their friends to do the same, using #myPTC. They will then be entered for a chance to win a gift card to a local Peachtree City business. Learn more about the project here: www.peachtreecitylci.com
Online Tools Used:
- Mentimeter (real-time anonymous input app)
- Typeform (survey platform)
- Wix (project website)
- Animoto (free cloud-based video creation service that produces video from photos, video clips, and music into video slideshows, and customized web presentations)
- Facebook and Instagram
Sandy Springs North End
TSW is creating concept plans for redevelopment for four aging strip shopping centers between 9 and 13 acres each, in the North End of Sandy Springs. The demographics in Sandy Springs are a bit younger than in Peachtree City and nearly every household in the city has access to broadband internet coverage. Knowing this, we have been thinking outside the box for our outreach strategy since the beginning, and COVID-19 has certainly encouraged even more creative thinking for virtual forms of engagement.
We have had LOTS of engagement so far! Our Kick-off Meeting on March 5th was attended by nearly 200 people! Needless to say, people are interested in this project, so we want to keep the momentum going. We are currently hosting additional virtual focus groups via ZOOM with renters in the North End to add another perspective (the majority of the people at the Kick-off Meeting own their homes, but a large percentage of the residents in the North End are renters).
Our next group of meetings were intended to be pop-ups throughout the community, but they were cancelled due to the pandemic, so we are looking to have some fun with our online engagement. We are in the middle of creating four activities, which will all be available from a link on our Konveio host page in early May.
- Sandy Springs Singles Online Dating: This is a Tinder-style survey (Metasurvey) for users to swipe left or right on development types that could be appropriate for each site. Each development type has a “dating profile,” and users will swipe right on the ones they like and left on the ones they do not like.
- Goals and Principles and Persona Building: TSW is using Konveio for these two activities where people can verify the goals and principles and personas for the study. Both the goals and principles and personas were established from stakeholder interviews and the feedback at the Kick-off Meeting.
- Designing Your Shopping Center: We are creating an interactive map, using Wikimapping, where users can zoom into each shopping center and place icons for the types of development they would like to see and where they would like them to be on those sites. They can also draw where they would like sidewalks, bike lanes, nature trails, and multi-use trails.
You can learn more about this project here: www.sandyspringsga.gov/city-services/urban-development/revitalization-initiatives/north-end-redevelopment
Online Tools Used: