1. Public Workshops
During the public workshops, attendees learn of the area’s projected future (the Baseline Scenario) and its attendant impacts on transportation, air quality, infrastructure, etc. An educational presentation provides background information on issues to consider. Keypad polling—an interactive wireless survey technology—and on-line polling may be used to gather public input.
Workshop attendees may also engage in a mapping exercise. Through this exercise, groups of approximately ten interested citizens, appointed officials, business owners, and land owners brainstorm their preferred future for the area. Each group uses a map with an air-photo color-coded with information about the area, such as developed land, land uses (commercial, residential, industrial, parks and open space), extent of sensitive lands (e.g., hillsides, floodplains, areas of significant plant life), and key landmarks. On this map, each group negotiates among themselves areas to delineate for growth and for conservation, and they will represent the form they would like growth to take, using chips that represent different types of housing, commercial and mixed-use forms of development, etc. Each table aims to have a microcosm of all the parties interested in the long-term success of the area. Having participants who represent diverse opinions come together to brainstorm a long-term future tends to produce pragmatic yet often innovative solutions.
2. Summarize and Disseminate Results
The workshop mapping results are entered into a GIS system. This enables staff to develop scenarios in a transparent fashion, demonstrating how public responses were incorporated into scenario concepts. This task also involves disseminating through a newsletter the key public ideas gleaned from workshop results. The keypad polling results also shape the development of draft guiding principles as well as give a sense of residents’ values towards growth issues.