Public Participation & Engagement

Public Participation & Engagement

Dane County Community Development and Natural Resource Educators work with County and Municipal Committees and Task Forces to design and facilitate public engagement processes. We work across economic development and natural resource issues, such as sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation, broadband expansion, affordable housing, downtown development and community place-making.

Local governments are closest to the people in a community, in that they provide essential services and programs of importance to community members. On the flip side, community participation in decision making is crucial in order for local government to best serve residents and visitors. Inclusive public engagement processes bring community members together to implement the community’s vision. Community members are THE key ingredient for making places more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant places to live, work, and play.

Dane County Extension educators can help your local government task force or committee design and facilitate inclusive engagement processes. Our educators have experience and training in public participation and facilitation. Our approach to community engagement is informed by the methods and best practices designed and taught by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and centers inclusive and participatory engagement. 

If your local government is working on a specific issue that would benefit from a public engagement process, contact Sharon Lezberg to discuss your needs. We have recently begun working with municipalities on community engagement processes related to sustainability/climate action planning.

Our work in public engagement can include the following:

  • Stakeholder analysis, community mapping, demographic profile
  • Design of community engagement process
  • Facilitation of community engagement processes
    • Education and information sessions
    • Community dialogues
    • Focus groups
  • Design of long-term Task Force or Committee process
  • Community surveys (typically, in collaboration with a survey research group)
  • Report writing

Examples of our work:

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