Beginning in 2018, City staff worked with a group of 40 residents to create a Public Engagement Guide. The City created strategies to build equity and accessibility across their institution, creating a more consistent and trust-building public input experience for community members.
However, the 2018 work didn’t incorporate strategies for adapting to the online world. In 2020, the City invested in creating a digital engagement platform to bridge the digital divide in participation opportunities. Over the past three years, Pittsburgh has emphasized hybrid and continuous engagement strategies through EngagePGH.
This digital engagement platform is a one-stop-shop for residents and interested parties to share their opinions, access information, and actively participate in shaping their community’s policies, programs and initiatives. EngagePGH proves to be an embodiment of the IAP2 Core Values by prioritizing inclusivity, trust, transparency, equity and honest community involvement.
EngagePGH has received input from over half of the City’s population across more than 150 digital and hybrid projects, with a growing percentage of returning engagers. Pittsburgh offers real-time participation opportunities, benefiting community members with limited access and City staff with limited capacity. Staff has used the tool to close the loop, showing clearly how input is used in decision-making processes and providing follow-ups. Pittsburgh’s transformative journey ultimately demonstrates an unwavering commitment to inclusive engagement and sets new industry standards for digital and hybrid public engagement.