Stakeholder engagement strategy and tools
View of Lycabettus Hill from the Acropolis, © Erin Gustafson
Municipality of Athens
Interboro Partners (Georgeen Theodore, Brian Mourato), Rebuild by Design, 100 Resilient Cities, The Interdisciplinary Program for Monuments, Archeology, and Architecture, The New Jersey Institute of Technology
Interboro, in collaboration with NJIT's MIP program, was asked to develop a stakeholder strategy to solicit input about the public's opinion and use of Athen's highest hill, Lycabettus. As one of the largest green spaces in the center of the city, Lycabettus offers locals a public space with dense urban forest and the best views of the city and historic landmarks. In response, Interboro developed three engagement tools to jumpstart the discussion around the future of Lycabettus and to gather public opinions. These tools were used to engage participants in the planning process and provide feedback for the city. The three tools were:
- Model and map to serve as a basis for discussing how users experience the park and what they’d like to see.
- Game to solicit input on the balance of nature, recreation, and built infrastructure on the site.
- Survey in digital and physical form to build a data set of user experience and desires from the perspective of local residents and also tourists.
In order to spark conversation with residents and utilize the engagement tools, Interboro collaborated with students from local universities to engage with participants and serve as a mobile ‘street team.’ The Athens Street Team includes students from local Universities and is managed by Anthi Christou, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Resilient Athens. The team was out during the summer in strategic areas throughout the City to gather a comprehensive basis of data from the residents. For more information about the street team and its members click here.
Map and Model of Lycabettus Hill
A map of Lycabettus Hill and its surrounding neighborhoods, was used to solicit input about outdoor space, entrance ways, and paths on the hill. Using dry erase markers, participants were invited to write, draw, and highlight areas on the hill that they like, areas that they do not like, and areas for which they proposed new ideas.
Printed on a laminated vinyl banner, the map allowed participants to interact with the street team and write directly on it. After each interaction was finished, a street team facilitator would simply clean the map with a dry erase cloth, allowing for engagement with the next participant.
A model of Lycabettus Hill was used to solicit input about outdoor space, entrance ways, and paths on the hill. The model was an interactive tool that asked participants to place colored felt pieces on areas of the hill that they like, areas that they felt need improvement, entrances and paths that they use, and ideas that they have for the hill’s future.
Green felt pieces corresponded to areas that they like; Red felt pieces corresponded to areas that they did not like; Blue felt pieces indicated new ideas.
The mobility of the model allowed it to become a place-making device where people gathered together to share their opinions and ideas.
My Lycabettus Game
This engagement game was used to solicit participants’ preferred mixture of activity types on Lycabettus Hill. The game was essential in understanding what programs might bring people to the hill and what programs they think should be on the hill - all without specifying locations.
Participants placed ten colored game pieces on a game board to indicate their preferred types of activities.
Red pieces indicated active recreation; Green indicated activities related to nature; Purple indicated activities related to culture.
Participants were also given the option to add their own activity by writing it on an empty yellow piece.
A paper version of the game used in the District 1 mobile engagement station was used during a community meeting. The acrylic game pieces and wood game board were replicated using cardstock and paper.
A paper version of the map was also produced for this event. Both were seen as a great resource for gathering information in group settings as they can be easily printed by anyone in large quantities. In the future, they could even be used in classrooms.
Embrace Lycabettus Survey (digital and analog)
A digital survey was created to reach a large number of people and gather basic info that would inform the future design process. Participants were given a card with a link that directed them to the survey.
The survey was used to determine how they currently use Lycabettus Hill and what ideas they might have for the hill’s future.
The survey was translated into Greek and English and designed to work for locals and tourists. The survey was easily accessed through any smartphone or internet enabled device.
A paper version of the survey was printed for an event with older participants who were less likely to use a smartphone or internet-enabled device.