Community + Business Input
Images and Interviews Provide the Creekside District Team with Valuable Information from the Public’s Perspective
One key component and outcome of Beaverton’s HUD Community Challenge Grant is increased and meaningful public involvement by populations that have historically been marginalized in public planning processes (including underserved populations) in the development and implementation of the Creekside District Master Plan. Public engagement best practices suggest that involving the public early in processes not only provides policymakers and planners with important information at the outset of projects but helps to build trust among community members as their input is considered before key decisions are made.
Given the goals of the Creekside District master planning project, eliciting observations, ideas, and opinions from local residents, including youth, and business owners (in other words, those who live, go to school, and/or work in the area) is crucial.
The decision to utilize Photovoice as a primary vehicle for gathering citizen input at the outset of the project was driven by both the quality of the data that can be collected (photographs focused on particular dimensions of actual places and the accompanying verbal data via the group discussions and captioning) and also the value of the process itself for the participants that shifts the traditional researcher/researched power relationship and has the potential to bring marginalized populations into the policymaking arena in meaningful ways.
Phase 1: Fall 2012
In November, 2012, Beaverton City staff reached out to targeted groups including students and residents of the District. Participants were asked to explore a two different questions: (1) From your perspective, how well does the Creekside District (or the immediately surrounding area) function now? And, (2) how you would like to see the District develop in the future; what improvements can be made?
Several themes emerged:
- Transportation issues: the lack of sufficient pedestrian access to essential services and amenities as well as safety concerns related to the lack or quality of sidewalks,
crosswalks, and traffic signals)
- Economic development: a lack of a diversity of interesting, retail and cultural experiences
- Environmental concerns: the degradation of the creek that runs through the area and other natural features in the area
- Public sanitation concerns: how sanitation is or is not addressed in the neighborhood particularly for apartment dwellers
- Parks and recreation: the lack of parks and recreational opportunities in the area; Landscape issues: this can also be seen as “sense of place” concerns as the area appears
to be poorly maintained.
Download the full Phase 1 report below.
Photovoice Phase 1 - Final Report (3.9 MB)