Engage early with all interested community members and groups to understand their needs and aspirations, and reflect their wishes in the design.
Work closely with the community to incorporate design elements which reflect a distinct sense of place. Tell local history stories, and convey the community's connection with the place.
Engagement is key
Community engagement is essential for designing a successful historic heritage environment.By engaging with the community, designers can gather invaluable local knowledge which will inspire and guide the design vision for the site. Community support will ensure consents and approvals are more easily obtained. Meaningful engagement will also give the communitya sense of belonging and connection with the place. To accomplish this, the design team should identify and engage with the surrounding community and other relevant community groups, such as local historical societies. Be sure to include other manawhenua, children and young people and clubs or groups who may be interested in using the site.
Engage successfully with the community by:
- using a range of engagement techniques to appeal to a wide audience (e.g. online surveys, interviews, meetings, workshops, social media and engaging with teens at a local hang-out spots)
- clearly communicating the roles,expectations and limitations of the engagement process, and ensuring the community has a clear understanding of timeframes and expectations
- incorporating community ideas and aspirations into the design. If you have a limited budget, work with the community to prioritise options, and consider empowering them to make some design decisions themselves (ensure the Local Board approves this approach first)
- informing the public about progress during the construction phase, using signs, media releases and open days
- allowing the public to watch contractors while they work, so they can see progress
- inviting the community and stakeholders to celebrate the opening of the park.