Hearing the Public Voice

 

Changing Times“Will someone please listen to me?”


Most people want their voices to be heard. They want to know someone is listening and considering their viewpoint.


This is one of the reasons public involvement is critical in the design phase of a project. The stakeholders most impacted by a project need to feel connected and have a place to ask questions or voice a concern. Project owners give stakeholders multiple ways to have their voice heard including:


• Public Information Meetings
• Social Media
• Websites
• Virtual Town Hall Forums
• Mind Mapping


Each of these methods offers different opportunities for the stakeholders’ voice to be heard by GBA’s project teams. Face-to-face or through the written word, these methods are important and valued.


But why is public involvement so important to GBA’s engineers during the design phase?


According to Senior Associate Tawn Nugent, “Having conversations with the public about how a project can improve their quality of life is an enlightening step. By listening to individuals, we learn how our project design can positively affect the general well-being of individuals.”


When the public participates by attending meetings or using any of the other methods to communicate their opinion about the project, the information gained is invaluable. The process is vital to making well informed decisions, reducing misunderstanding and avoiding and resolving conflict. Working with the stakeholders allows the engineers to deliver a project that improves safety and efficiency, protects natural and human environments and contributes to community well-being.


At times, the passion a stakeholder has regarding their interest is seen at the public meetings or in letters written to the project team. This passion helps engineers to understand how important the impact of the project is to the stakeholder.


Our engineers strive to create a project that is beneficial for everyone. The best way a designer can find out what is important is to listen to the voices of the stakeholders.