Community engagement isn't a marketing exercise. It’s a change management process. And when you view the impact of any development or infrastructure project through this lens, no matter how large or small, the approach becomes more outcome-driven.
Change is never universally embraced. Yet that shouldn’t deter or constrain the evolution of a stakeholder engagement strategy. Urbaine believes that while community support may not always be achievable, an effective change management process can achieve different levels of community acceptance (early adopters, early majority, late majority, and conditional) that yield positive social and project outcomes.
Community acceptance takes a values-based approach to engaging with stakeholders during the planning, pre-launch and construction phases of a project. Many factors including trust (no surprises), access to information and organisational representatives, environmental opportunity, and clearly articulated community benefit can all have significant roles in removing barriers to accepting change.
Urbaine has partnered with several residential developers to deliver community-focused outcomes including Ausbuild’s master-planned development at Warner, The Sanctuary, Keylin’s mixed-use community development at Indooroopilly and Lewis Land Group’s $1.5 billion master-planned Harbour Shores community on the Gold Coast.
Creating an engagement framework that strives for various levels of acceptance, rather than a ‘checklist' approach, requires a subtle yet powerful shift in thinking.
It is predicated on the knowledge that:
Establishing the process in a timely manner and proactively involving early adopters may result in a broader willingness to accept the change in established community settings. In the same way that a negative minority can disproportionately impact a project, early adopters can have significant influence when given the opportunity.
This is where a responsive, research-driven strategy comes into play.