community engagement

a vital part of urban infill strategy

An infill strategy can be a challenge when it comes to successfully engaging with nearby residents. In order for a strategy to be sustainable, we must get buy-in from residents impacted by these decisions. To obtain this buy-in, we must make sure we are approaching the residents in a respectful, non-confrontational, and culturally sensitive way. We must also have the time and resources to engage with the residents on a continuous basis to ensure the strategy is sustainable.

what does community engagement look like?

It’s the process in which people or organizations interact in an open and energetic way with a diverse set of individuals in order to solve challenges. For urban infill strategies to be successful, it requires more than just selling or demolishing homes and building new ones. It requires trust and inclusion from the stakeholders involved. A Community Engagement Plan (CEP) is often the first step toward a sustainable infill strategy. A CEP is comprised of a wide range of stakeholders who look to address the needs of the community and where the new residents. It also includes the existing residents who are often at the forefront of the conversation.

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Margaret J. Wheatley

start with key stakeholders

A good first step is to meet with local elected officials, business leaders, city councilors, and community groups. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of the issues facing the community and the stakeholders who are most affected by those issues.

Issues such as:

  • Safety
  • Access to public services
  • Transportation
  • Cleanliness
  • Crime
  • Schools
  • Employment
  • Economic development

Listen to what stakeholders tell you about these issues and incorporate those suggestions into your strategy.

speaking the same language

When entering new communities, reaching out and introducing yourself without trying to sell anything helps build relationships. Often, community engagement begins with the existing residents, who often have a vested interest in the community. It is important to keep existing residents informed on new developments that may impact their community. It is also important to keep in contact with them regarding potential community benefits and the economic impact of urban infill. 

checking in

Once trust is established, don’t forget to engage with stakeholders and other community members during the process of strategy implementation. Seek feedback where possible and devote resources to maintaining the engagement you’ve already earned. Continuous engagement and sustainable strategies will ensure your infill projects are successful at every stage. 

Don Hines | 314 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59802 | (406)203-7956 | don.hines@bhhsmt.com

All Rights Reserved © 2022