coUrbanize Launches New Offerings to Help Developers and Planners Reach Underrepresented Populations
New Features and Services Will Ensure Greater Inclusivity and Diversity in Real Estate Planning and Design Discussions
Boston, Mass., July 9, 2020 – coUrbanize, the online community engagement platform purpose-built for real estate teams and city planners, today announced new product features and strategic services to bring more inclusivity to the public outreach process.
“We built coUrbanize to give people the access needed to influence the future of their communities,” said Karin Brandt, CEO and Founder of coUrbanize. “We’re evolving our platform with that goal in mind and to ensure fewer voices go unheard during important development, planning, and zoning conversations.”
This announcement builds on a suite of new features announced in April, including the ability for community members to request a private conversation with a project team and to give feedback via voicemails that are automatically transcribed onto the platform.
New Features Designed to Drive More Inclusive, Representative Feedback
- Community-Centered, Inclusive Feedback Questions: New developments should benefit the people who already live in the community, not just the new residents that real estate companies hope to attract. These new prompts enable customers to go beyond publicly-available demographic data to understand the community’s needs, desires, and ideas.
- COVID-19 Impact and Reopening Polling Bundle: From food and housing insecurities to new demands for open spaces, priorities have shifted for most communities because of the pandemic. This series of polls will help customers understand the most pressing needs for their communities today and how to reassess reopening plans that reflect their comfort level.
- Prebuilt Affordable Housing FAQs: Opposition to affordable housing projects is often rooted in bias and falsehoods about negative impacts that affordable housing brings to communities. coUrbanize has curated a list of FAQs about affordable housing to help customers proactively address unfounded concerns.
“Mercy Housing California brings affordable housing to vibrant, diverse communities and that means our community engagement strategies must reflect the values of the communities in which we’re building,” said Amy Bayley, Vice President of Community Planning at Mercy Housing California. “coUrbanize gives community members multiple ways to share their feedback and ask questions, which ultimately plays a big role in building trust with our projects’ future neighbors.”
In addition to these new features, customers can now engage the coUrbanize team to activate underrepresented populations by tailoring outreach and communications to specific community groups, civic leaders, and housing advocacy organizations. These services can be included for any new projects on coUrbanize or added to existing customer engagements.
“Our team will work with customers to identify which voices are historically underrepresented and the best ways to capture their feedback – whether that is by way of a direct mail strategy, through signage translated into multiple languages, or by building relationships with local community activists,” explained Brandt.
Lastly, coUrbanize has revised its Community Guidelines and comment moderation procedures to more clearly address implicitly biased comments, in addition to the existing rules against hate speech, violence and discriminatory comments, so all community members can continue to feel safe and welcomed when expressing their feedback on the platform.
coUrbanize Community gives people a way to share their feedback and have a voice in a development or public planning process without having to go to a meeting – by simply posting a comment online or texting in their ideas – and having a two-way dialogue with the project team. More than 400 development and real estate teams have used coUrbanize to scale public outreach in a more inclusive way, have more productive conversations with the community, and ultimately build critical support for their projects. For more information, please visit courbanize.com.