APD-U is keenly aware of the need to strike a balance between the client’s need to closely monitor the public process, and the residents’ need for meaningful information and reassurance. Our firm believes that planning with a community instead of planning for a community results in neighborhood and community plans that are more likely to be supported and implemented with transparency. A critical component of urban development and community planning is stakeholder support, especially in place-based urban development, and community engagement is a featured component of each of APD-U’s projects, no matter how small or large.
APD-U’s approach to capacity building is all encompassing and inclusive of residents and stakeholders, as well as nonprofits or organizations involved in the neighborhood planning and implementation process. APD-U uses the Asset-Based Community Development© method as the foundation of its capacity building services. Residents participate in a series of workshops designed to maximize residents’ ability to move forward, support, and sustain development activities and concepts generated from the neighborhood plan. Using asset-based community development principles and tools gained from the workshops and team building sessions, residents learn how to effectively support community development initiatives, and how to use neighborhood plans for future social, economic and environmental development. APD-U’s capacity building process also focus on relationship building to foster local leadership and increase social capital. Along with the use of GIS technology for asset and opportunity mapping, APD-U works to assist residents with increasing their knowledge of existing conditions and available resources that facilitate more informed decision making about how to take action to improve their own quality of life.