New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law requires that a master plan is to contain a mandatory element that is “[a] statement of objectives, principles, assumptions, policies and standards upon which the constituent proposals for the physical, economic and social development of the municipality are based.” (N.J.S.A 40:55D-28.19.b(1)) The vision statement, guiding principles, goals, and strategies fulfill that requirement.
As part of the Trenton250 Master Plan Phase I - Community Visioning process, Group Melvin Design (GMD) worked with the City of Trenton - Division of Planning to develop a community-driven consensus vision for the City. From February through August, 2014 more than 10 different methods were used to reach out to the community and get their input. The result is a Vision statement and set of Guiding Principles that have broad community support and will serve to guide the Master Plan through 2042.
You can read the Vision and Guiding Principles here
. The following outlines the steps taken to write the community-driven vision and guiding principles.
The first step in public outreach was informing the public about the Trenton250 Master Plan. The project team utilized the radio, newspapers, social media, posters, public events, a launch party, and a unique “chalkboard” advertising effort to ensure that as many residents as possible were informed about the process. As of August 2014:
Trenton250 was the major focus of eight print and online news stories.
Jeffery Wilkerson, from the City, and Adam Tecza, of Group Melvin Design, were interviewed on Trenton365, a weekly radio show that profiles individuals and organizations in the Trenton Region.
The Trenton Master Plan facebook page reached 1,000+ friends on facebook, 90+ followers on Twitter, and 30+ followers on Instagram.
The project team estimates that more than 10,000 people were exposed to Trenton250 at Art All Night. More than 500 took away a brochure that explained the Master Plan.
The project team built a custom website that allowed users the option to learn about and participate in the Master Plan. Among other features, the website allowed users to view the City Profile Report and identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Constraints (SWOCs). Users watched a presentation by Jeff Wilkerson, Principal Planner, which clearly articulated the master plan framework and gave answers to frequently asked questions. As of August 2014:
- There were more than 2,100 unique visits to the website, and more than 13,400 page views.
- 175 surveys had been completed.
- 100 Vision statements were posted (approximately half were posted by Trenton250 on behalf of Youth Summit participants).
- 60 Comments were posted on the Trenton250 blog.
- 40 images were submitted to the Image Contest.
- 22 SWOCs were identified.
- 3 Love notes were written by City Residents.
The project team used a crowdsourcing methodology to generate preliminary vision statements, themes, and goals. Throughout the outreach process people were able to submit visions on the website, and identify SWOCs. In addition, the Project Team held a Youth Summit, four ward meetings, a Latino community meeting, and four stakeholder meetings. As of August 2014:
- 200 high-school students attended the Youth Summit and submitted over 50 visions for the future of Trenton
- 89 people attended the five public meetings, including 17 attendees of the Latino Community Meeting. Combined they identified 11 visions and corresponding goals, as well as more than 100 SWOCs.
- 110 stakeholders attended four meetings that focuses on businesses, non-profits/religious institutions, education, and the arts. Combined they identified more than 80 goals and cast more than 300 votes in an effort to prioritize previously identified goals.
- More than 300 visions were submitted at Art All Night, and more than 1,000 dot “votes” were cast.
- In total, more than 3,000 dot votes were cast online, in the public meetings, stakeholder meetings, and at Art All Night.