By Colleen McGue
The answer is yes! But let me back up for a minute and explain the question, and why it is important. Traditional, “old school” community engagement often involves getting a large group of people together for a charrette or workshop with the end goal of receiving their input on a particular issue or topic of interest to community leaders or planners. Many of the folks who attend these types of sessions to share their ideas tend to be the “usual suspects”: these are the same people who always come to public hearings and often have already formed opinions on issues. While these “usual suspects” provide us with very useful input, community engagement is about hearing an even representation of the whole community.