With major public projects nearing completion or on the horizon, the Town of Bridgewater is developing an Open Space Network Plan that treats open spaces as a cohesive system of public assets contributing to the wellbeing of all residents. To develop this plan, the Town of Bridgewater recognized the need for diverse and authentic community involvement in the development of this plan. UPLAND was hired as a consultant to develop and guide a public engagement process that leads to transparent and well-informed decision making.
UPLAND applied a hybrid of techniques and methods rooted in various disciplines, including participatory research, social marketing, art of hosting, landscape architecture and urban planning. Within the first two weeks of the project, our team undertook a detailed stakeholder analysis and established a local engagement team. UPLAND collaborated with the Town of Bridgewater staff and partners to design and implement a community engagement process for open space planning. Our team led 2 workshops to co-create a strategy, where 20 local leaders defined the best ways to reach target audiences and collect input. We mentored our local partners to deliver outreach activities—including chalkboard popups, guided walks, postcards, and focus groups—and delivered a community workshop and online survey. The results are contributing to transparent, well-informed decision making for future development of the open space network and public space amenities. In addition, our client and their partners have come away from the process with new community relationships and an improved capacity for community engagement.