Most people are too preoccupied with immediate issues to engage in a planning process that looks decades into the future. So how did the Atlanta Regional Commission get over 18,000 people to participate in the creation of their long range comprehensive plan?
As Melissa Roberts describes in this interview, they created fun and visual online surveys with MetroQuest which were so popular that they were shared extensively on social networks and attracted the attention of local news shows and bloggers. To complement this flurry of online participation, targeted “boots on the ground” events helped to ensure that the engagement represented the diversity of the region.
According to Roberts, the most important payoff for this kind of broad and inclusive public involvement was the confidence that it gave to elected officials to approve this ambitious plan. Congratulations to the ARC for this inspiring example of best practices for online community engagement.