Public Engagement

Public engagement for Our Great Region 2040 focused on including the public in the planning process and gaining feedback from residents and community leaders throughout the development of the plan.

The engagement effort was based on three major platforms: Community Meetings & Events, Electronic Surveys & Online Interaction, and Focus Groups & Training.

View an interactive map showing the locations where public engagement took place.



Community Meetings & Events

Each phase in the plan’s development used community meetings and events to both educate and get interactive feedback from community members.

More than 270 technical experts participated in workgroup strategy sessions, and approximately 760 residents of our region attended 22 large-format public meetings.

More than 1,100 residents participated in 49 community meetings tailored to members of the community that might not otherwise participate in more traditional meeting formats. These groups included geographic and demographic areas that were not present in the larger format meetings. This outreach was not unlike the public meetings, but it drew more from tailored strategies, including face-to face interactions, canvassing, existing neighborhood networks, and selected media outlets, to enhance participation by the targeted groups.

At the public and community meetings, participants were asked to evaluate 12 draft plan goals. As a byproduct of this discussion, three new goals were added, bringing the final total to 15.

Over 1,000 community members participated in awareness building at 12 local festivals where they were asked the ?question “Our Region is MY Region because?”.With an added layer of visible and interactive presence at local and regional festivals and markets, the plan was widely talked about in the communities.

When the engagement and planning process was completed, the final recommendations were presented to the communities in an Open House Format. Participants had an opportunity to choose one Big Idea they wanted to see move forward. Over 175 comments were received, representing 106 Zip codes in our region.


Electronic Surveys & Online Interaction

Similar to the goal prioritization process conducted in the public meetings, residents were able to participate in an online forum, giving the engagement team insight into their greatest concerns and priorities in a more free form way. Approximately 273 unique users accessed and participated in the forum from approximately 123 Zip codes throughout our region. Users contributed a total of 153 new ideas and 397 comments.

The first use of a survey was as a supplement to the public meeting and community meeting activities, with over 2,700 responses received from the combined printed and electronic format. The survey reinforced several basic themes of the plan, including its local and regional emphasis, the connection between sustainability and everyday quality of life and opportunity, and a forward-looking focus.

As the plan elements began to form goals, objectives, and priorities, the Think 2040 Survey was created around three future alternatives for our region. With responses from over 7,500 residents, it was evident that the region's diverse communities have different needs and visions for the future. Despite these differences, there are some core values that tie our region together. This analysis influenced development of the plan's implementation strategies. The Think 2040 Survey was available in six languages and was distributed through many creative means, including on kiosks in public venues, on tablets taken into the community by engagement team members, and web availability.

In the final stages of the plan, an online forum allowed participants to review the draft Our Great Region 2040 and provide feedback and comments. The draft plan was provided in English and Spanish, giving an added level of participation to those who could not attend the open houses.


Focus Groups & Training

To ensure the proposed strategies were appropriate for communities in the Houston-Galveston area, the project team sought the advice of policymakers and subject-matters experts living and working in our region. Experienced professionals, elected officials, and municipal employees participated in focus groups, large group discussions regarding proposed implementation strategies in six subject areas. To accomplish this goal, over 1,500 professionals were invited to attend one of the 17 meetings across our region.

With direction from the facilitators, participants discussed each topic area: housing, transportation, environment, economic development, healthy communities, and resiliency. At the end, each participant was asked to identify the single biggest issue facing their community between now and 2040.

While the focus groups were being held, 421 members of 17 advisory committees and subcommittees overseen by the Houston-Galveston Area Council participated in facilitated discussions similar to the focus groups. Each group consisted of subject-matter experts from throughout our region who discussed proposed policies and issues in their areas of expertise, ranging from air quality to regional flood management. These groups discussed proposed implementation strategies that directly relate to each advisory committee's area of expertise.

During the development of the plan, 97 residents volunteered to be trained and participate as part of the Community Ambassador Team (CAT) to further involve their community in current and future activities, and an additional 191 community members attended training on how to get and keep their communities involved. Each session included information on common engagement approaches and public involvement goals, exercises to illustrate the value of message refinement, the assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses, and a review of free, interactive tools to improve coordination and expand communication networks.


Community Engagement Report

The Community Engagement Report Community Engagement Report details the public engagement process and feedback.


Community Engagement Report

Community Engagement Report Appendices


Our Great Region 2040
Houston-Galveston Area Council

DISCLAIMER: The work provided for the basis for this website was supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statement and interpretations contained in this website. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Government
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