Cities and towns face an ever-increasing roster of complex issues within a more competitive and diverse world, such as affordability, economic vitality, social cohesion and climate change. These issues are further compounded with growing income inequality and shrinking public investment. As more people choose to live in cities, the need to engage the public in conversations around development and the public realm becomes increasingly acute.
Each issue and situation calls for its own particular form of engagement. In many cases, re-imagining the nature of cities and neighborhoods requires consensus-building, visioning and a deeper questioning of what shapes our civic spaces.
Through new technologies and techniques, there is now an ability to do scenario planning based on readily available data and multiple stakeholder needs that provides instant quantitative and visual feedback and finds common ground between different perspectives.