Local park and recreation agencies work diligently to ensure all people have access to and feel welcome in the places, programs and facilities that make their lives and communities great. Equitable and inclusive community engagement is central to this vision and is fundamental to establishing quality parks that meet the needs of all people.

NRPA has developed this resource guide to provide park and recreation professionals with a roadmap to implement equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies around the planning, design, construction, maintenance and activation of park projects and park plans.

What’s in the Guide

An inclusive and meaningful engagement process ensures that our parks and public spaces are created by the people they are intended to serve. To do this, the guide explores four main categories: 

  • Internal Assessment – Assess staff capacity, secure funding, build leadership support, and create a plan with clear goals, including a Community Engagement Framework and Spectrum of Engagement
  • Building Trust with Communities – Acknowledge past experiences, collaborate with local community leaders and partners, and be transparent and deliver on promises
  • Community Engagement Strategies – Communication strategies, mixed methods approach, and best practices
  • Evaluation – Data collection, evaluation framework, and data analysis

This Community Engagement Resource Guide highlights the essential steps to performing meaningful engagement around neighborhood-level and park-system planning projects. However, every community engagement plan will look different from project to project and municipality to municipality, so each must tailor the steps and tips to best fit the unique characteristics and needs of the community.

Download the Guide

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