Why is community engagement so important, specifically in the Bay Area? We were lucky enough to sit down with a few experts living this everyday – Danielle Tate of Mercy Housing, Tracy Craig of Craig Communications and Brian Baker of L37 Partners. We talked about why community conversations are particularly important for Bay Area developments – and how to turn those conversations into rich understanding that results in more inclusive decision making and better projects.
One theme permeated the conversation: you can’t build in the Bay Area without including the community in the conversation.
Outside developers are often taken aback by the expectation that the community will play an active role in project shaping and approval. Developers and planners local to the Bay Area understand and are appreciative of the role that it plays in getting a project approved. They seek value from those conversations.
The expectation is not only that the community will be involved but that they will affect change. The community will benefit from the project in ways that they can help to define. They’ll leave their mark on the final project. Cities and communities demand this.
While it’s an investment in time and resources, empowering people to impact what actually gets built and which community benefits are most important to them results in a more sustainable, successful outcome. Broadening engagement also helps to balance out dissenting voices with positive ones.
The big takeaway from the conversation? You have to know your community, you have to be invested, and you have to care.
Check out the recording of “How Strong Community Engagement Pays Off for Bay Area Developers” if you didn’t get a chance to listen live. A big thank you to our panelists for sharing their perspectives!