Community Engagement

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We want to hear from you!

From long-term citywide planning to rezoning an individual lot, everything we do is guided by community voices. Join your neighbors and participate in helping to build a stronger, safer and more equitable city. 

Why should I care? — and other frequently asked questions

Participating is the best way to ensure you have a say in what happens in your neighborhood and your city. 

Whether they cover the entire city, a neighborhood or a smaller area slated for redevelopment, plans lay out a community vision meant to inform city decision-making for the area they cover over the next 20 years. Once a plan is adopted, you can continue to participate by helping the city craft the new policies that are needed to implement the plans. 

Participating means you can:

  • help shape the community vision
  • help identify neighborhood priorities
  • and have a say in how plans are implemented 

When is the best time to get involved?

Planning and regulatory projects can last anywhere from six months to two years depending on the project. The public is invited to participate throughout the project, but we encourage you to get involved early and remain involved. The feedback requested changes as the project evolves.

For example, at the start of a planning project, we typically ask “visioning” questions:

  • “What do you love about your neighborhood?” 
  • “What concerns you about the area?” 

Mid-way through a project, we ask people to give feedback on preliminary recommendations to protect what is loved and address what concerns them. These recommendations may be updated several times in response to community feedback, before they are written into a draft plan.

Near the end of a project, we gather feedback on the draft plan itself. 

Do I have to live in Denver or in the neighborhood to participate?

All of our plans and processes are open to all members of the public.

What should I expect at a community meeting?

Although meeting agendas and structures will vary, they generally follow this format:

  • Check-in
  • Staff presentation with an overview of project and goals for meeting
  • Open house or small group exercises – this is usually the bulk of the meeting and where we are asking for attendee input
  • Wrap-up

What is the purpose of online surveys?

Online surveys help us gather input at various stages of our planning projects and give residents a chance to participate even if they can’t attend one of our community events.

We do not use surveys as voting mechanisms, in which the strongest viewpoint “wins.”

We do not use surveys to yield statistically significant results. The data we collect through online surveys is not intended to be a representative sample of the Denver population or a neighborhood’s population.

In our engagement, we try to provide multiple ways to participate. Surveys provide our planning teams with valuable community input from people who cannot or choose not to attend community meetings, and these responses are viewed alongside other input and weighed carefully to help craft plans.

Why use surveys instead of just talking to people?

We do both. Surveying is just one tool we use to gather community input along with other strategies that include community events, neighborhood meetings, focus groups, street fairs and festivals, working with schools, drop-in office hours, and more. We find that surveys are an important tool in our engagement for three reasons:

  • Surveys allow us to gather feedback in a lot of different ways, including multiple choice questions, open-ended questions, and map-pinning exercises, and in multiple languages, typically Spanish and English. This means we get to hear from more people, in whatever way they are most comfortable, ensuring every community member who wants to participate can.
  • Digital surveys allow us to reach a much larger, much broader group of residents than paper surveys or in-person meeting exercises alone.
  • The structure and format of a survey allows us to do faster, more organized, and more robust analysis of each survey’s results, helping ensure we use public input as much as possible in each plan or project.

What if I complete a survey, but have more to say?

Each plan or project has a project manager whose contact information will be listed on the plan or project webpage. You can email or call us at any time.

If you know of an upcoming community event or you represent an organization and would like to invite us to an upcoming meeting, please let the project manager know. 

What do you do with my input?

As we collect community feedback, we put the results in a spreadsheet for analysis. We read and code all comments to identify common themes, and we create visualizations and summary documents to be used by the planning team, the steering committee and other stakeholders. The results, visualizations, and all summary documents are also reported back to the public via the plan or project website. 

How do you know people aren't "gaming" the surveys?

Most of our digital engagement tools track “respondent sessions,” ensuring a single person cannot take one survey repeatedly to try and skew the results. When analyzing each survey, we also manually check for repetitive behavior (frequent responses coming from a single location, identical comments being submitted across a large group of respondents, etc.) and adjust as needed.

Because we do not use our surveys as strictly voting mechanisms, expressing one viewpoint over and over isn’t going to automatically result in that viewpoint “winning.” Our overall evaluation considers the range of opinions received online and in-person.

Why do you ask about my gender, age, or race/ethnicity?

We ask basic demographic questions at the end of each survey and in community meetings because it is important to us to know if we are hearing from a diverse range of voices. If we aren’t, we can take steps for better and different outreach.