Working Papers
PDF | Free | 46 pages
Download PDF

Defining an Engagement Strategy to Create and Implement the Fourth Regional Plan in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut Region

Juliette Michaelson

July 2014, English

There are several reasons why public engagement is an indispensible component of the Fourth Regional Plan. The first and most important reason is because it is the right thing to do—the Plan establishes a vision for the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut region based on the needs and wants of the residents who live, work, and play within its borders. The second reason public engagement is so critical is to ensure that the Fourth Regional Plan includes the best and most current research and policy tools that exist today. Only with accurate data can a relevant strategy be proposed that advances the region towards unified and realistic goals. Finally, public engagement can pave the road for implementation of the Fourth Plan in the future. In other words, the Fourth Plan is both a product and a process: it engages key thought leaders, local organizations, and communities in a regional discussion and ultimately inspires all parties to advocate for its implementation.

With 22 million residents in the region, the challenge RPA faces now is to meaningfully engage with such a significant constituency in an effective way. After a long consultation process including a partnership with the Lincoln Institute, RPA has developed a multi-pronged engagement strategy. Given the scale of the region, the Fourth Plan will take a grass-tops approach, meaning creating the tools for deep and sustained involvement from research and academic institutions, advocacy groups and community organizations. The key tool will be the Committee on the Fourth Plan, which will be providing direction on both research and engagement. At the same time, there will be regular check-ins with residents and workers in the region at critical points in the planning process. There will also be a specific engagement process targeting the academic community. In tandem with the roll-out of interim and final products, there will be a series of public events—enhanced by engagement through a variety of digital media strategies—to ensure that anyone who wants to can participate in the discussion.

Keywords: Public Engagement, Regional Planning, Grass-Tops