COMMUNITY CIRCLE

Making meaningful connections between people and places.

The circle is an inclusive shape that implies fairness and invites participation. It is the shape of a connected community. It is also used to indicate and define “place.”

CONTACT

Community Circle

6 Dover Lane

Lexington, MA 02421

 

daphne@community-circle.com

phone: +1-781-862-1780
alt: +1-781-820-0873​

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Integrated stakeholder involvement. Ensuring that stakeholder input is integrated into the planning process and the resultant planning document. Build consensus by identifying and articulating core values, shared priorities and potential tradeoffs. Novel public engagement techniques that are attention-grabbing, inspiring, enjoyable, and result in meaningful and useful input.

The success of even the most promising project can be undermined by a lack of public understanding or support.  Buy-in and consensus are critical to implementation. Integrating public participation into the planning process results in a stronger base of support. Public workshops, targeted outreach meetings to interest groups, discussion groups focused on themes, and other forums all play a role in providing an opportunity for participants to understand the process, express their views, and become enthusiastic and hopeful for an improved future. This helps garner support for proposals and even motivates some to participate actively during the implementation phase.

According to MindMixer, 48% of adults in the U.S. have never attended a public meeting in their life and only 11.4% of U.S. adults ever attend such a meeting.   Community Circle believes it is important to  focus extra energy to attracting people to meetings while simultaneously providing opportunities for participation without attending meetings. Reaching people in their homes through the use of technology and social media has become increasingly possible and important. Community Circle believes that opportunities for face-to-face contact should be the core of any community conversation but should be supplemented with additional opportunities to join the discussion.

 

In order for a plan to be useful, relevant and “implementable,“ it must be supported and understood by those it impacts as well as those charged with seeing it through. In order for this to occur, stakeholders need to have an opportunity to shape the plan. Community Circle creates a process that attracts attention, is inviting, and offers variety in opportunities for participation. Because the success of any particular approach is dependent upon the context and culture of a specific community, Community Circle carefully customizes the selection of methods, tools, forums and formats to the context and culture of each specific community.

We carefully design the Community Engagement Plan to the specific project and place. What works in one project or community does not necessarily work in another. What is your purpose? Who is your target audience? What is the full array of affected stakeholders? What would success look like? These are some of the questions one needs to answer when designing a meaningful community engagement program.

 

  • Visioning

  • Interactive public forums

  • Stakeholder Interviews

  • Surveys/Questionnaires

  • Focus Groups

  • Roundtable Topical Discussions

  • Social media and other digital forums

  • Planning and Design Charrettes

  • Professional Retreats

  • Outreach

  • Use of wide range of innovative methods

  • Public education

  • Cultural Competency and Expertise in conducting outreach to hard-to-reach populations (e.g. young families, seniors, youth, English is not first language,  not used to participating, apathetic residents, etc.)

Participation Expertise:

  • Certified mediator (M.I.T. Mediation Certification)

  • Trained facilitator 

    • National Charrette Institute, charrette training

    • Public Conversations Project, several facilitation and conflict resolution workshops

    • Essential Facilitation Certification, Interaction Associates

    • American Planning Association, multiple workshops

  • Designed participation and engagement processes for planning projects in over 30 municipalities and multiple agencies, institutions, and other organizations. ​

Cultural Competence

Ms. Politis has conducted outreach to a variety of ethnic and minority groups in a number of communities and is committed to the additional effort needed to engage “hard to reach” populations (e.g., identifying representatives of such groups, using multi-lingual materials, holding meetings in settings where people feel comfortable, etc.).

 

Ms. Politis is fluent in Greek, has a good working knowledge of Spanish, is very comfortable working in multi-ethnic/racial communities, and has worked on a signfiicant number of projects where translation and interpretation were integral to the process. She has worked with communities whose residents speak Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese languages, and Haitian Creole, among others.

 

  • familiarity and comfort working in diverse, multi-lingual, multi-cultural settings

  • expertise conducting outreach to “hard to reach populations”

  • experience conducting multi-lingual public forums and summary documents

  • fluent in Greek, working knowledge of Spanish