What makes public engagement successful? Evaluating public engagement in the Humber Valley Regional Planning Project
The current research was an investigation of successful public engagement in land use planning, using a case study from Newfoundland and Labrador. The research involved two dimensions: 1) the evaluation of a 14 month-long public engagement process for the development of a regional plan, taking place in the Humber Valley, NL, and 2) the development of a list of criteria for successful public engagement in land use planning, particularly in the Humber Valley. A total of 275 regional residents participated in this research through a regional survey, evaluation questionnaires, and interviews. The data was collected based on performance indicators, which were used to evaluate the engagement process. A set of criteria of successful public engagement from the literature were informed by the current research to include: Openness, Representativeness, Appropriate Timing, Careful Preparation, Broad Advertising, Comprehensive Information, Influence on Decision-Making, and Empowerment. The Humber Valley project was also evaluated based on these criteria. The findings suggest some key areas, particularly associated with openness, advertising, and information, which may be important focal points when developing and implementing public engagements projects.