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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / Planning / Equity Agenda for Planning / Equitable Engagement

Equitable Engagement

Montgomery Planning builds mutual trust and respect with communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals. Through an open, transparent, and equitable process community members can achieve a high degree of confidence in the process and know that their contribution will have an impact. Community members will be heard and, through the planning process, Montgomery Planning will work to address concerns, deficiencies, and opportunities in their community.

  • Create a more efficient, equitable, and effective community outreach and engagement process.
  • Determine the appropriate level and type of community engagement for the goals and phases of each plan.
  • Identify audiences and other stakeholders to engage.
  • Develop outreach and engagement that is consistent, respectful of stakeholder needs, and on-brand.
  • Provide information and engagement that is designed to engage traditionally underrepresented communities. 
  • Clearly identify the resources needed to do successful outreach and engagement.
  • Establish timelines and delineate responsible parties. 
  • Provide staff with the knowledge, training, experience, resources, and internal support needed.
  • Identify and track performance measures, consistent data to inform current and future planning efforts.

Montgomery Planning’s Communications Approach to Equity

With equity as a priority for Montgomery Planning and the county, our communications approach provides an opportunity to model how we want to be in relationship with one another in our county community. As such, communications planning and implementation will continue to consider equity in all outreach and engagement so that all members of our community can shape our county’s future. The following principles guide our communications approach to equity: 

Engagement Goals

Our plans create a vision for the community – whether that community is the entire county or a specific neighborhood. Through all of our plans, both big and small, Montgomery Planning engages the community throughout the process so that we can create a shared vision for the future. The primary goal of Montgomery Planning’s community engagement process is to ensure that community members are constructively and meaningfully involved in the decisions that shape their communities and to increase trust, communication, and understanding between the community and Montgomery Planning.

Transparency

Community members have a clear understanding of the scope of the plan, the schedule, possible outcomes, and their role throughout the process. People also understand the role, responsibilities, and limitations of Montgomery Planning. They understand how and why community input is or is not reflected in the recommendations of the plan.   

Inclusion

All communities who may be affected by the plan are actively involved in the community engagement process. Community members share different experiences, perspectives, and expertise. Community participants are reflective of the population, sharing relevant characteristics of the population and including groups who have been historically or systematically excluded from past planning efforts. Montgomery Planning elevates these historically marginalized voices and histories to correct disparities in influence and outcomes that perpetuate inequities.

Mutual Learning

We learn from community members’ lived experiences to help identify barriers, opportunities, and strengths that need to be addressed or elevated through the planning process.  As Montgomery Planning incorporates the experiences and ideas of community members, we also strive to educate community members about the master plan process, timeline, planning concepts and ideas, as well as share data and analysis. The exchange of information and ideas creates a shared understanding and a fully informed community that knows how its county government works and understands its planning process.

Shared Vision

Participants move towards identifying shared values and desired outcomes. Through informed deliberation, community members and Montgomery Planning develop a shared understanding and vision for the future.

Community Influence

Participation has a tangible and apparent impact on outcomes; it is tracked, measured, and assessed transparently. Ideas garnered through the community engagement process are reflected in the plan and community members can trace their influence – even if not all ideas are included in the plan. Public servants, other organizations, and citizens themselves take action (often in collaborative or coordinated ways) during the plan process or plan implementation to address key issues and opportunities identified through the process.

Increased Community Capacity

Participants are given adequate information and resources to participate meaningfully and equitably. They understand the planning process and have a shared sense of ownership of and commitment to the process and outcome. Community members endorse decisions and actions by Montgomery Planning because decisions clearly reflect public participation in a transparent engagement process. They understand how and feel equipped to track plan implementation, collaborate on future projects, and advocate for policies. 

Build Trust

Montgomery Planning builds mutual trust and respect with communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals. Through an open, transparent, and equitable process community members can achieve a high degree of confidence in the process and know that their contribution will have an impact. Community members will be heard and, through the planning process, Montgomery Planning will work to address concerns, deficiencies, and opportunities in their community.