Guiding Prospect Park Alliance through the process of diversifying community committee members
The Partnership Lab is a program from the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks (the Institute) that supports urban parks and open spaces in solving complex organizational challenges so their communities receive the benefits that well-cared-for parks and open spaces provide.
TYTHEdesign was brought on board by the Institute to support Prospect Park Alliance (PPA), a Partnership Lab grantee, in exploring the existing situation, defining project objectives, and participating in exercises designed to develop strategies for more intentional engagement and building equitable, lasting relationships with the surrounding communities that utilize Prospect Park.
Over the course of the eight month engagement with PPA, TYTHEdesign and the Institute facilitated bi-weekly meetings, held several workshops engaging a variety of stakeholders, and produced a collection of documents to guide and support PPAâ€™s goal of refining its community engagement strategy to more equitably represent the diversity of surrounding communities on its Community Committee. The committee was specifically created to provide an ongoing dialogue with the community about park usage.
The project began by assessing the data and information PPA was using to determine these needs and gaps. TYTHE facilitated two strategic and capacity-building workshops to gather input from key stakeholders around the question of what equitable representation on the Community Committee looks like. Then, TYTHE worked with PPA to codesign a series of processes and tools to help them represent the diversity of the surrounding communities on its Community Committee and lead intentional, inclusive, and accessible engagements. This resulted in a set of recommendations for being intentional about utilizing the Community Committee for PPAâ€™s future engagements and recruitment.
Equitable Recruitment Guidelines
In collaboration with PPA, we co-developed criteria and a pathway for recruiting, selecting, and onboarding community organizations to the Community Committee. TYTHE supported PPA in developing set criteria for what constitutes an equitable committee to ensure that the diversity of park users, interests, and communities are represented. Additionally, we created a step-by-step guide for the recruitment process, templates, and a set of criteria and values to measure the committeeâ€™s equitable representation.
Intentional Engagement Guidelines
TYTHEdesign worked with PPA to build a stronger foundation for the Community Committee, improving the recruitment of new members and supporting more effective relationships with existing members. We co-created a clear set of guidelines that defined roles and responsibilities across all participating parties, then captured those insights in a robust series of tools, including Internal Guidelinesâ€“a comprehensive document of various aspects of the Community Committee from selection criteria and recruitment to expectations and responsibilitiesâ€“and onboarding documents.
To bolster the relationship with the Community Committee, TYTHEdesign provided facilitation coaching and training to PPA staff. The 1-on-1 coaching included assistance in properly and intentionally planning an engagement, developing an agenda, and providing feedback to PPA staff following observed meetings with the Community Committee. In addition, TYTHEdesign provided a two hour in-person training for all PPA staff to learn effective facilitation practices.
Collaborators: Kristina Drury and Toby Gardner