Community engagement – listening intentionally and carefully to everyone who will be involved in and impacted by a project – is an emerging field of practice. Thoughtful listening is essential to great and lasting design, and it’s at the heart of all of our work at Caddis Collaborative.
Community engagement is about using new, innovative techniques to solve problems that have always been there. In the past, architects, designers, developers, and others who contribute to building projects haven’t always done a good job of addressing these problems. Nuanced problems that are hard to define have often festered underneath the surface.
That’s why has been so much rancor in the development world – because people were doing a bad job of addressing these underlying problems. This has led to NIMBYism, governments that are siloed from their own departments, dysfunction inside institutions.
When we apply community engagement techniques and put the emphasis on listening to all stakeholders and constituents, we can help address and resolve those old problems and patterns. The key is to really listen to what members of various publics want and then look for solutions that have been hidden or suppressed in the past.