Making It Sparkle at the Upstate APA 2018 Conference

By Susan Hopkins, AICP

​The Highland Team was out in full force last week at the 2018 New York Upstate Chapter American Planning Association (APA) Conference. The conference theme was “Upstate Inspired” and we hosted a fast-paced, interactive session entitled “Essentials of Public Engagement.”

First, we engaged the group in a cardstorming activity in which we asked participants to share good and bad experiences with public engagement. Then we presented four key concepts of public engagement, including how overcome cognitive bias, manage outrage, and focus on values-based dialogue.

Check out the Facebook Live video here.
At the end of the session, we invited participants to ask questions using live interactive polling software. I love this technique for a variety of reasons:

  1. It works for people who may not feel comfortable asking a question in a large group setting;
  2. It lets us see the full scope of questions that exist in a group, as opposed to just two or three we may have time to hear and answer;
  3. It limits non-question questions and grandstanding;
  4. It can be fun and funny. You can see from the questions below, people got playful with it.

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