Keeping Communities Connected: Economic Development

Keeping Communities Connected: Economic Development

Through a partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Avenue NYC program, Public Agenda provided technical assistance and strategic guidance to nearly 100 New York City-based community-based development organizations (CBDO). As part of this work, Public Agenda developed and presented public engagement workshops; utilized our Engagement Scorecard; created the Keeping People Connected: A nuts-and-bolts toolkit for engaging residents, businesses, and property owners in problem-solving, decision-making and community-building; and provided customized coaching on strategies for engaging the public.

Public Engagement Workshops

Public engagement workshops provided participants with the necessary tools and skills to better engage their community, identify and recruit other stakeholders, work more intensively with marginalized communities and participate in peer-to-peer mentoring and collaboration through an interactive workshop that incorporates small and large group discussions, activities, and polling exercises.

I really appreciated the thoughtfulness and framework presented on public engagement. It energized me and helped me think strategically about how I can engage my community advisory committee. Thank you so much for that!” - Workshop Participant

Public Engagement Toolkit

The Keeping People Connected: A nuts-and-bolts toolkit for engaging residents, businesses, and property owners in problem-solving, decision-making and community-building toolkit is a resource that provides tools and skills for engaging with the public. It includes diagnostic and planning exercises for a wide range of topics including: how to take inventory of current face-to-face engagement and online engagement opportunities, mapping and recruitment exercises, and case studies of sustained engagement in action. Public Agenda provided specialized technical assistance in public engagement to address challenges and goals through working with CBDOs to create a sustained engagement plan. 

In-Depth Technical Assistance

Public Agenda provided in-depth technical assistance to the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) on reporting out the results of their Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) meeting. The assessment enables them to maximize the engagement experience of participants through recommendations for interactive elements of the meeting, including the use of digital engagement tools, interactive discussion design and techniques on recruiting diverse participants. With our help, QEDC’s CDNA meeting had a 50% higher attendance than similar meetings the QEDC previously organized, with very positive feedback from participants. 

Public Agenda also worked with the Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) to implement recommendations for community events in order to attract larger and more diverse participation. FDC utilized several of the techniques we suggested and immediately saw positive results during merchant meetings and events including the Cortelyou Stroll, reporting having higher attendance and more concrete input from the community. One of the  sustained engagement strategies Public Agenda worked with FDC to create included using input gathered through a static display that contained the phrase “What makes Flatbush unique. . .” to inform a conversation around the topic, prioritize needs and determine an engagement initiative based on the community’s input.