We are driven to advance opportunities for all; building communities where everyone feels safe, valued, and respected. Authentic community engagement is the cornerstone of achieving success in public sector projects.
At SRF, we apply an equity lens to all engagement approaches, ensuring that opportunities to provide feedback exist for all community members, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, income, or mobility. Enhanced focus is placed on connecting with individuals who have been traditionally excluded from planning processes. Our in-house community engagement team has worked closely with communities across Minnesota to develop public involvement approaches that reach community members where they live, work, and play.
For the SRF Team, public involvement is about more than “checking the box.” It is about truly customizing projects to fit the community. Communities have valuable insights about how infrastructure can improve their daily lives; we cannot build truly successful projects without these insights.
SRF uses a wide range of interactive tools and activities to communicate a plan or project to the public. By soliciting and understanding community feedback, we can foster support for a project and facilitate the decision-making process. From group exercises and games to handheld voting devices to interactive websites designed to facilitate feedback, to computer simulations and modeling, SRF can customize tools to suit your engagement needs.
Design workshops are a way to learn information from project stakeholders, share information, and jointly brainstorm potential solutions to the issues at hand. Workshops can include facilitated site walks with stakeholders; education sessions to discuss current challenges and solutions; or brainstorming sessions where participants are drawing, presenting, and evaluating potential solutions with each other, the client, and the design team. Workshops provide in-depth opportunities to investigate current design challenges and allow SRF to work side by side with stakeholders to better understand their vision.
SRF’s stakeholder engagement experts know that online collaboration is a critical way to share and gather information. While traditional engagement opportunities like open houses are still important, online collaboration allows you to reach people on their own time. Many tools are available to help agencies collaborate online, including social media and interactive platforms that engage people more innovatively than a traditional website. SRF’s experts are skilled at using many of these tools and will work with clients to tailor an online collaboration strategy that maximizes the information being shared and received.
Broad Inclusive Participation
SRF’s engagement techniques encourage broad participation in projects. We have engaged property owners, business owners, renters, travelers, institutions, and interest-based organizations. We have also worked with partner agencies, community-based organizations, and social service agencies to facilitate the participation of under-represented low-income and minority communities. Public engagement that is culturally aware and equity based has become a focus of many infrastructure and planning projects today. SRF can assist in implementing authentic, respectful engagement that facilitates enduring relationships with your community partners.
Having solid technical information for a project is important, but equally as important is being able to communicate this technical information to stakeholders to facilitate decision-making. SRF is known for its ability to structure and lead meetings that effectively communicate key project information, encourage input from critical stakeholders, and secure decisions that allow projects to move forward. SRF’s facilitators help focus discussions towards meeting project objectives.
SRF has a full creative staff of graphic designers and communication professionals. From social media and website development to art direction and design, our staff has designed and produced a wide range of materials. We work with clients to explain complicated transportation and infrastructure projects in an informative, understandable, and visually compelling manner. SRF has also helped our clients to positively position projects from applying for funding through design and construction.