Ingenuity Magazine Summer 2020

8 Pond | VIRTUAL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT REACHING BEYOND THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH F or several years, the Pond team has quietly been innovating and perfecting our approach to community engagement on our planning, landscape architecture, and transportation projects. We have always understood that a key ingredient to the success of our community oriented projects is to identify the approaches that allow us to have a meaningful conversation with the communities we are fortunate enough to serve. Our adaptable approach – including community open houses, small stakeholder groups, tactical engagement (intercept interviews at parks, pop up events, and festival booths), social media, online surveys, and interactive maps – has served us well, emphasizing both the need to have lots of conversations while ensuring that those conversations are focused and support our ability to develop the right solutions for each community. Recent Pond projects like the Gwinnett 2040 Unified Plan, the Roswell Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, and the Memorial Drive Revitalization Corridor Study are notable for the amount of quality community received and how our team was able to use that as the foundation for forward-thinking and innovative solutions. Our history of innovation and commitment to strong community engagement is now serving our clients well as we navigate the challenges of engaging with the community during the pandemic. We have been able to easily pivot to this new reality due to: 1.Our Foresight – back in February, our team started putting together internal contingencies to prepare for the possibility of the environment we are now facing; 2.Our Ingenuity – because of our long standing commitment to community engagement, it is already the Pond team’s nature to develop innovative engagement solutions that work beyond relying on the traditional approach of in-person community meetings; 3.Our Experience – that same innovative approach means that we already have useful and significant experiences in engaging with the community digitally, which is emerging as part of the solution during this challenging time. While there are numerous tools to assist with virtual engagement, the Pond team has taken a less-is-more approach focusing on a few select tools for video-conferencing, live polling, and interactive maps and applying them in multiple ways and in multiple settings. Learn more about the types of things Pond is doing to serve our clients and projects with a handful of selected case studies below. CONSIDERING A SMART CITY APPROACH FOR THE CITY OF WOODSTOCK Pond has been assisting the City of Woodstock in developing an overall SMART city strategy and narrowing down to a more specific SMART technology investment to enhance the experience of residents, businesses, and visitors in their vibrant downtown. In tandem with a pre-pandemic campaign of intercept interviews held by the City at a local brewery and holiday events in the downtown area, Pond set up an interactive website using Social Pinpoint that allows residents to offer input prioritizing different types of SMART strategies, articulate their desires for the downtown area, and indicate specific locations for ideas using an interactive map, with a total of nearly 650 responses. Pond