Five Lessons Learned from the Bay area challenge
- Engagement tools can be a way to raise awareness, visualize SLR impacts, foster collaboration, call for action, and facilitate implementation.
- These tools can also assist in sharing knowledge, moving conversations forward, and empowering people to be decision-makers in their own communities.
- Engagement tools and experiences are iterative. A tool may generate different outcomes with each use. Tools can evolve through feedback and input.
- Meet people where they are. Make tools accessible regardless of language, age, mobility, etc. Choose a location central to the community you are engaging, preferably close to public transportation. Provide food, childcare, and translation whenever possible and plan your event at a time when the community can attend, preferably after work.
- Engagement above all else is about community. Listen and learn from the communities involved in a project. Tools can facilitate engagement and input in creative and interactive ways but what really matters is authentically integrating community feedback and input so that the community can see themselves and their ideas in the work. Effective engagement has occurred when the engaged community feels supported and heard throughout the process and a sense of ownership and pride in the end result.
The Bay Area Challenge is only a beginning – the regional momentum generated in the last year will continue on as communities work together to implement Resilient by Design projects and address sea level rise and climate change impacts around our bay.
Tools created during the Bay Area Challenge engaged communities around the region in a myriad of ways – Bay Area residents examined sea level rise vulnerabilities in their communities by foot, kayak, and bike; they played collaborative social resilience games and visualized flooding through flood toys and sponge tables; they wrote down their hopes and dreams for a resilient Bay Area on the back of cards and in atlases; and they got to work developing their own plans and designs for resilience in their own communities.