After alternative scenarios are crafted and modeled, community meetings enable the public to explore the alternative scenarios and their impacts in comparison to one another and the baseline scenario. This provides an opportunity to learn which elements within each scenario have the most public support and, ultimately, will inform the development of a preferred vision (discussed in the next chapter).
Packaging Scenarios and Public Choosing
Using a variety of engagement methods will maximize participation and result in valuable feedback. There are an assortment of tools that can be used to effectively communicate to stakeholders and community members the different elements of the alternate scenarios. Here are some ideas:
- Scenario Comparison Posters
- Photo Simulations
- Summary Brochure
- Survey in the Newspaper
- Interactive Web Survey
- Open House
Websites can provide project information and are also an effective way to gather input on public preferences for those who did not attend public workshops. Consider making a short video that provides background information on the project that interested parties can watch prior to taking the online survey. View this example:
Photosimulations are an effective and fun way to help people visualize different scenario elements. It's important to remind community members this is just a vision, and there are a variety of future possibilities.
Regardless of the tools chosen to explore the alternate scenarios, the information communicated needs to be relevant; scenario outcomes should be communicated in terms of community values, and evaluation criteria should be responsive to priority issues identified earlier in the process. Making the information visually interesting will help engage community members and stakeholders. Where possible, use pictures instead of text and bullets instead of paragraphs.
When gathering input to create the preferred vision, remind participants they are not picking a "winner" out of the alternate scenarios; rather, the preferred elements and strategies from each scenario can be combined to create the preferred vision.
Each visioning process is unique. In some situations, the community will overwhelmingly prefer one scenario; in others, each scenario may have some popular elements. In this case, your technical team can help ensure that preferred elements and themes are compatible in the eventual vision scenario.
A "report card" can be an effective tool to distill complex technical information into easy to understand graphics. These graphics used in the report cards from the Grand Traverse Vision in Michigan, and the PlanIt Tulsa vision in Oklahoma, helped the public understand the tradeoffs between scenarios.