[WEBINAR] A Recipe for Award-Winning Online Community Engagement with Plan Hillsborough

Tampa, FL skyline

This highly visual 45-minute webinar presents research findings and proven best practices, practical tips and award-winning case studies to guide Florida agencies towards the successful application of online community engagement for planning projects. Viewers will gain an understanding about how to leverage digital engagement to achieve unprecedented results using cost-effective tools. This session showcases a wide range of outstanding planning projects throughout Florida including Lee County, Venice, Satellite Beach, Broward, Jacksonville and the award-winning Seven50 project. Our special guests from the Hillsborough Planning Commission in Tampa, FL will be online talking about Imagine 2040, one of the most innovative and successful planning projects we’ve ever seen. They will discuss the innovative ways they combined online and targeted face to face community engagement to involve over 5,000 community members in the creation of a plan for the region. They will also share advice for agencies seeking to improve the breadth and effectiveness of their community engagement efforts and talk about the positive difference that broad community support is making in their implementation process.

Watch Recording

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Participant Comments

Thanks so much for the great comments and kudos. Here’s some of our favorites:
“What a great session. Thank you so much Dave and Lynn.”
“One of the best presentations on Public engagement I have seen. Well done and congratulations Hillsborough for a great job and setting a great example for us to follow!”
“Great graphics and concepts. The presentation was insightful and delightful!”
“Great suggestions for thinking outside the box when it comes to public engagement.”
“Wonderful online presentation. Got a lot of out the speakers.”

AICP CM Credits

Bonus Case Study: NashvilleNext


Here are the questions that were raised by participants following the presentations with answers provided by the presenters.

Q: What was the budget?
A: [from Lynn] $260,000 including all consultant work and public engagement costs. Many public engagement costs were provided or achieved at drastically reduced costs due to strong public-private partnerships.

Q: Did Tampa have dedicated staff for the effort? How many?
A: [from Lynn] The Plan Hillsborough staff of about 40 at the time serves various roles as staff and planners for the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission, the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board and Technical Advisory Council. Planners on staff participated as planners in preparation of the Imagine 2040 Comprehensive Plans for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, and Hillsborough County, and the Imagine 2040 Transportation Plan. The planners were joined by various staff to conduct the public engagement for things like community groups and big events.

Q: Is the consolidated output of these meetings available to your market?
A: [from Lynn] The Imagine Hillsborough 2040 public outreach process guided the update of the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan and the jurisdictional Comprehensive Plans. Two phases of public engagement included: an online interactive survey, taken either via computer or using kiosks placed in various public locations; and were available at community meetings where audiences could take a paper version of the survey. Part 1, took place between August and November of 2013, with more than 3,500 people responding to the survey, choosing between three growth strategies: Suburban Dream showing what would happen if growth continued outward; Bustling Metro, focusing growth in our cities and towns and investing in transit; and New Corporate Centers, focusing growth along major highways. For Part 1 results, visit this site. Also view the Executive Summary of Part 1 (used at public meetings for Part 2) as well as the full Survey Results Report.

Part 2 of the Imagine 2040 outreach started after the 4th of July weekend and ended on Labor Day weekend, resulting in over 2,400 responses. It consisted of an exercise/survey gauging how to fund proposed transit improvements over the approximate 26-year timeframe. For Part 2 results, visit our project site. The majority of the respondents resided in Tampa representing 38% of all responses. Northwest Hillsborough County had the second highest response rate with 24%, followed by South County with 17% and Central County with 13%. Here are the Part 2 Results.

Q: How much did the engagement feedback shape the plan?
A: [from Lynn] A lot – see documentation in the reports on the web page.

Q: Did it lead to different results than if it had it not be undertaken?
A: [from Lynn] The results of Imagine 2040 parts 1 and 2 and how they helped create a Vision to guide the Imagine 2040 Transportation Plan and the Comprehensive Plans for the Cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and Hillsborough County can be viewed at here and here.

Q: Has this been used for any FDOT projects?
A: [from Dave] I don’t recall contracting directly with FDOT in the past but MetroQuest has been used either directly or indirectly (through consultants) by most DOT’s in the US. Given the wide range of planning projects where MetroQuest was used in Florida I’m sure that some of them were FDOT projects. Feel free to contact us so we can help you find appropriate references or case studies.

Q: What is the AICP CM event number?
A: [from Dave] The AICP CM number is 9102565. Here is the direct link:

Q: One of the general MetroQuest projects slides included one project in Lee County Florida. What project was that?
A: [from Dave] That could have been from one of two projects in Lee County. This first one was one involving growth priorities and scenarios and then another for the 2040 Transportation Plan. Please note that the first one is based on a previous version of MetroQuest so some features have been added or changed and since then.

Q: Federal funding requires engagement in many efforts. Does it need to be for the “big” picture projects only?
A: [from Dave] While the “big” picture projects seem to get the most attention, online engagement is useful for a wide variety of scales and types of projects beyond these big picture ones. I briefly showed the Parks Plan that Hillsborough is currently working on which is very different from the grand Imagine 2040 effort. In addition, one of the MetroQuest projects that I did not have time to discuss was the University Drive Corridor plan in Miami which focuses on alternative alignments of a small section of the corridor. This morning I reviewed this site that is using MetroQuest to collect input on an Aquatic Center so there are certainly a wide range of planning projects beyond the “big” picture ones where online engagement tools can be helpful.

Thanks again for your interest and participation in this webinar.

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