More Than A Survey: An Community Engagement Example of Increasing Transparency And Inclusion
The City of Revere is located on the eastern coast of Massachusetts and borders Boston to the north with a population of around 62K. As is often the case with growing suburbs, Revere finds itself as a community engagement example of a growing, diverse population and an onset of new projects to accommodate that growth.
Similiar to many cities across the nation, the release of the 2020 decennial census data triggered a need for putting the newly updated data to use. For local government planners this meant updating planning area boundaries and information, and for the wider community this meant the processes of redistricting and reprecincting would soon begin.
The state redistricting process (drawing new congressional and state legislative district boundaries) occurs every 10 years. For cities and towns, reprecincting puts the new decennial data to use to redraw precinct and ward boundaries—and calls for community engagement.
Reprecincting is the drawing of new local precinct and ward boundaries by City Officials. Wards and precincts are relevant for voting location and ward councilors and are used by the state legislature to redraw legislative districts. Precincts must be drawn to contain roughly equal numbers of residents (not voters). Redrawing happens every decade!
According to a 2021 poll sponsored by The Economist, the level of community trust with redrawing processes is low.. In fact, just 16 percent of U.S. adults said they thought their states’ congressional maps would be drawn fairly, while 44 percent said they thought the maps would be drawn unfairly.
Research has shown that, for local governments, the greatest antidote to public mistrust is transparency and inclusion.
An Example of Community Engagement Best Practices: Using Interactive Maps To Educate Residents During Engagement
The Redrawing Revere project represented a necessary and important opportunity for the city to engage the community using an informative and inclusive process of rebalancing the geographic boundaries of the cities wards and precincts.
With a community engagement platform built for government organizations Revere povided an easy method for the Reprecincting Team to share information with the community about the importance of census data and how that impacts communities at the state and local levels.
Hallmarked by increased community transparency and inclusion, the Redraw Revere initiative leveraged community engagement software to do more than set up a project site and online survey. The initiative used strategic community engagement tactics powered by PublicInput to quickly and easily inform, listen, communicate, and analyze public perceptions.
The Reprecincting Team leveraged the public comment analysis to capture input from a broad cross section of citizens. The software also gave the Planning Department the ability to respond to every comment and clear up a lot of misunderstandings.
The process of transparent communication and inclusive decision was simplified using the PublicInput Platform. The unified approach allowed the team to easily keep the community informed, document and share issues that arose during the process, offer FAQ resources, display a process timeline, and offer a portal for community questions and/or comments all in one place.
Mission Accomplished: Revere Redrawn Successfully
The culmination of all this work resulted in the City of Revere adopting the new maps, developed in partnership with the community, by unanimous vote in November of 2021.
Want to learn more about how PublicInput can help you and your team increase engagement, transparency and inclusion?