Community Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion in Placemaking

(contributed by Charles Campion, former IAP2 Core Values Award winner)

Communities have a collective intelligence that brings social, economic and environmental value to designing cities and neighbourhoods. Just as the act of voting is a right, it is inherently democratic to bring people genuinely to the heart of planning and placemaking.

At this year’s American Institute of Architects “AIA ’19 Conference”, Alison Luas from Boston Architecture firm Payette will moderate a session with architects Patricia Saldaña Natke, President and Design Principal at Chicago based UrbanWorks Ltd and Charles Campion, Partner at JTP, London. Natke and Campion are both striving to leverage the process of co-design in the built environment to meet the challenges of equity, diversity and inclusion to increase opportunities for all individuals.

Member Profile: Sarah Rubin

POSITION. Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, CA Department of Conservation

How long have you been in P2, and where have you worked?

That depends on exactly how one wants to define public participation/ engagement. I worked at the Sacramento Mediation Center starting in 1995; then I did Americans with Disability Act mediation at a non-profit during grad school in Virginia. It was rewarding work. I started doing public policy related engagement in 2000 when I got a job at the Bay Area based non-profit Community Focus. This was my first experience bringing together diverse stakeholders to work on local projects they chose and implemented. Our approach was strengths based – and that model really resonated with me. I liked helping stakeholders to figure out how they could successfully contribute to a project. For one stakeholder it could be getting the mayor to participate; for another it was baking snacks and or getting food donations.

I worked for the Center for Collaborative Policy for ten years and then the Institute for Local Government. Between those two jobs I spend a year in Hawai’i, where I did some consulting with a colleague I adore – Linda Colburn. We designed a stakeholder engagement process for dealing with freshwater issues and helped the Hawai’i Health Connector – the implementation agency for the Affordable Care Act in Hawai’i.

Overall, like anyone who has been in the field a while I’ve worked with colleagues and stakeholders who have both made work a joy and a major challenge!

President’s Message: Be PART of Something Good

Catherine SmithCatherine Smith, IAP2 USA President

It was a Saturday afternoon in early May and I was at my first Presidential Library, the FDR Library in Hyde Park in the Hudson River Valley. It’s true–the light of the Hudson River Valley is  special, but there’s another type of light entirely to stand in front of a President’s desk, even one that hasn’t been occupied for longer than my own lifespan. It’s quiet and invigorating all at the same time.

It was the type of moment that puts a focus on the work we do and its relationship to helping democracy work at every level. True, the democracy isn’t perfect, has flaws, sometimes frustrates us or seems far too fragile. But the reality is, it’s endured. And, it’s endured because of some important values—values that our organization shares.

Webinar Rewind: Visual Engagement

One of the challenges a public entity faces when designing a public engagement process is engaging the public enough to get them to take part. This is especially true when the project or policy in question affects practically everybody, but the subject matter is quite mundane. Making the publicity visually appealing is one way to do it, and in 2018, IAP2 Canada joined with the Dazzling Notice Awards to offer the Core Values Award for Visual Engagement.

In March, we met the co-winners of the award, the District of Squamish, BC, and the Region of Waterloo, Ontario. Squamish’s Official Community Plan was due for review, and the District, working with MODUS Planning, Design and Engagement, decided the way to do it was to combine strong branding and graphics with creative outreach efforts to reach Squamish’s active and young-at-heart demographic. One aspect to this was a video that was produced using District planners who were not only writing the plan, but also very much the face of the public engagement. The videos included out-takes — scenes where the speaker fluffed their lines or cracked up when the camera was rolling. It was felt this made the videos — and the process itself — more accessible to residents.


squamish 2

There were pop-up engagement displays in unlikely places like popular biking trails or on the Sea-to-Sky gondola; “selfie sticks” — not the kind for holding a cell phone camera, but comic-strip-type “talk balloons” that showed what a person cared about so they could take and share selfies; “OCPizza Parties”, where people would gather in homes to discuss what was important to them in the Official Community Plan.

Waterloo’s challenge involved toilet talk — in particular, what happens to the stuff we flush. The initial attempt to set up a biosolids facility was an epic fail, as people came out in droves to protest what had been an “announce-and-defend” strategy. Engineer Kaoru Yajima says he feared for his safety at one townhall meeting due to the public outrage.


So the Region re-grouped and, working with Dillon Consulting, came up with an outreach plan that mixed humour with plain-language technical information. Bob McDonald, noted science journalist, made a personal appearance and a video to discuss the Story of Poop and underscore the need for the community to participate in the process. Other public communications focused on making the biosolids strategy — particularly attracting public interest on concepts such as the physical treatment of it and where it ultimately goes — as un-daunting as possible.

IAP2 members can watch the entire webinar and access the PowerPoint decks and other information here.

Deadline for Conference session proposals – February 21st.

2019 North American Conference

No time to lose! Submit your session proposal now

How do you leverage P2 to create thriving communities? Do you have an angle, a technique or an experience that could benefit others in their practice? The time is now to submit your session proposal for the 2019 IAP2 North American Conference.

What kind of communities thrive better with P2? Practically any kind: some communities are connected to a specific place or region, while others are connected through a shared task or purpose. For example, our P2 communities meet human and societal needs for infrastructure, transportation, energy, health, public safety, education, technology and more.

There are opportunities for 60-minute sessions or 90-minute sessions, as well as “poster sessions”, but don’t delay! Read the Call for Session Proposals first and fill out the Application Form here and submit it by the deadline, Thursday, February 21, 2019.

north american conference app previewAnd have you checked out the opportunities to sponsor this year’s Conference? We’re excited to offer some new ways to get news of your P2-related product or service in front of hundreds of practitioners from around the world at once. Sponsoring the Conference also demonstrates your company’s or organization’s commitment to meaningful engagement with the public. Read our Sponsorship Package to learn about the benefits of sponsorship. Download the application to get started today!

IAP2 USA Skills Symposium returns to Texas!

It’s back! The IAP2 USA Skills Symposium — our annual opportunity to plunge deeper into the P2 realm — will be back at the Commons Learning Center in Austin next February 25 to March 1st!

Those who attended the 2018 Skills Symposium are virtually unanimous, course evaluations showed:

I would recommend this course to my P2 colleagues: 99%

It was a worthwhile investment in my career development: 97%

Now’s your chance to take part in this exciting opportunity to enhance and expand your P2 toolkit!

From February 25 through March 1, 2019top trainers from around the world will be on-hand! You can take the full five-day Foundations course, or, as in past years, a variety of courses covering P2 topics you won’t find anywhere else! Read the full Schedule at a Glance.

So start making your plans and get ready to book your room at the Lone Star Court— our host hotel again this year with a special Symposium rate.

For more information on the Symposium and training costs please visit the website. If you have any questions please contact us at


Chapter News – Reporting in from Greater LA, Intermountain, Midwest & Cascade!

Greater LA Chapter

The Greater LA Chapter may have taken July and August off from hosting meetings, but they will be back in full swing come September! Their next event is being generously hosted by PlaceWorks on September 26th starting at 11:30 AM Pacific. To get more information about Greater LA events, sign up for their mailing list but shooting an email to !

In other news, Greater LA Chapter President, Kit Cole, was recently interviewed by ELGL on their GovLove Podcast. We are waiting with bated breath for it’s release!

Intermountain Chapter

The Girls Participation Summit was a half day event designed for girls aged 10-18. They learned from some of the most successful student organizers, elected officials, and community leaders working in Utah. Participants took part in a morning of workshops that introduce tools for engaging with local governments and community organizations, skills for organizing support for causes you care about, and connections to a network of young women doing community work.

In age specific workshops, Girls Aged 10-14 learned how to speak so adults will listen which was then followed by an art workshop called “The Future We Deserve.” Girls Aged 14-18 took part in an session called “You Don’t Have to Graduate to Get Involved” followed by an Ally Building Panel Discussion.

This event wasn’t just for those still in their early youth! Adults took part in sessions introducing tools and resources to support young women in their engagement efforts followed by networking with community organizations that have engagement/volunteer opportunities.

This event hosted 40 attendees and received great feedback.

Midwest P2 News

The next meeting of the Board of the IAP2 USA Midwest Chapter will be Friday, August 10, 2018, from noon – 1pm. We meet via phone and all Chapter members are welcome to join by dialing in: (515) 604-9515, access code: 284499#.

Cascade Chapter News

The Cascade Chapter hosted their 2018 PIWorks! Conference in Portland, Oregon and brought speakers in from across the west coast to talk about a range of topics relevant and emerging in Public Participation Practice. ELGL sent three of their members to the conference who live blogged about their experiences, lessons learned, and take aways! Check out their Day 1 and Day 2 blog posts to learn all about sessions you may have missed out on!

Webinar Rewind – June: “Beyond Inclusion”

In recent years, ads promoting the City of Portland, Oregon, have portrayed the city as “weird” — steampunk, maple/bacon doughnuts, all manner of craft beers, etc., etc. But the city and environs also have a less-than-boastable history of white supremacy. According to the Momentum Alliance — a youth-led group that works for social justice — this historical situation has continued into the 21st Century with policies and procedures that put communities of colour at a disadvantage.

Metro, the regional government overseeing the three counties and 23 cities surrounding the Rose City, teamed up with Momentum Alliance to create a more racially equitable region, starting with changing the agency itself and its relationships with the communities it serves. Through a series of meetings and projects, changes have taken place — and not just cosmetic, outward-appearance changes or plans on a shelf, but changes in the attitudes of individual staff members.

But the process was hardly smooth. It involved some tough conversations, revelations and above all, trust-building. Members, hear for yourself how this remarkable process came together, and how much further they need to go.