Citywide master plan, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Master and Downtown Plans

The combined efforts of both the Downtown and the Citywide Master Plans for Kalamazoo to engage the public represent a high point in collaboration. Both independent processes sought participation by a diverse cross-section of stakeholders, employing innovative public workshops that went beyond traditional information gathering. Creative ways to involve the public, from focus groups to making “planning” easy to understand, helped define both approaches.

An Innovative and Multi-Faceted Approach:

  • Workshops were geographically based and held throughout the city, targeting specific neighborhoods and districts.
  • Social media, including Facebook and Twitter, and technology such as electronic polling and virtual meetings, drew interest from traditionally reluctant participants.
  • Graphic design and branding helped build and reinforce public awareness of the plan and the process.
  • Interactive participation, from youth-guided activities for children, voting on priorities with tickets and ballot boxes, brainstorming ideas for the future guided by questions on postcards, to electronic polling helped build an unprecedented level of community support.

Download a printable project sheet or the full city-wide master plan.

Community engagement tools were used in Kalamazoo, see more about our proven techniques.