Traditional community engagement revolves around public meetings. But what was designed to be a democratic process is anything but. Data from Boston University shows that 95% of public meeting participants are whiter, richer, and older than their fellow neighbors. Think about the people who don’t show up at these meetings.
The single mom who doesn’t have childcare during the meeting time. Neighbors who may not speak English as their preferred language. Renters who have been told they don’t have a say because they aren’t property owners. Or people who can’t or just don’t want to sit through a three-hour meeting. These community members outweigh the NIMBYs but are overlooked and unheard.