Senior Project: We've Been Trying to Reach You!
Tension can grow between local community groups and people perceived as having the power to make large-scale changes (like city government employees, commissions, and boards) when community members feel that their input is not considered or that they are not reaching City of Seattle officials through the correct methods.
This project identifies the strategies currently used by various nonprofits and citizen groups to collect feedback and pass community knowledge to local planning officials, then compares those to theoretical outreach strategies. It consists of a literature review addressing the importance of citizen engagement; a collection of the best practices for outreach to local communities; a series of interviews with employees of nonprofit organizations operating in the Seattle area; and a matrix of City of Seattle public outreach policies. The purpose of this project is to mitigate future tensions by providing recommendations for how best to provide the city with feedback that uses the time of staff members at local community organizations efficiently.
The Senior Project is a yearlong student driven project. I was especially interested the way that local community organizations and City of Seattle departments collaborate to attain goals requested by community stakeholders.