On-Demand Webinar

An Award-Winning Strategy for Public Participation: How Pittsburgh Engaged 20,000!

Educational credit: 1.0 (APA AICP CM)

Average Rating:

Whether you’re new to online community engagement or a seasoned professional, you’re invited to elevate your skills by exploring one of North America’s award-winning programs with the City of Pittsburgh!

Recipient of the IAP2 USA Core Values Award for Organization of the Year and Honorable Mention from IAP2 International for 2023, the City of Pittsburgh serves as an exemplary model in the field, prioritizing inclusive, transparent, equitable, and honest community involvement. In this webinar, you’ll meet the Pittsburgh team and learn how they have informed over 230,000 people and collected 34,240 contributions online, gaining valuable community feedback for 200+ projects!   

Explore their journey to Engage PGH! Your Social Pinpoint hosts Dave Biggs and Sophia Robison are joined by Sharonda Whatley and Martina Wolf Battistone from the Pittsburgh planning team and Audrey WellsLaura Tsutsui, and Jan Raether from the communications and engagement teams.

They explain how the City moved beyond public meetings to successful online engagement during the pandemic, increasing survey respondents by 1,684% on a single project. Today, Engage PGH features projects from almost every City department. A deeper dive into 5 successful projects (including corridor studies, environmental planning, community development, and budgeting) provides practical examples for making your next digital community outreach a BIG success!

In this session, we explore how to:

  • Boost public input by up to 16X to gain valuable community feedback  
  • Increase engagement results while decreasing effort with digital engagement  
  • Scale online community engagement across any or all city departments 
  • Adopt IAP2’s spectrum for public participation to guide your program  
  • Inform the public, record feedback in real-time, and close the loop to build trust  
Thank you for doing this Webinar-it was chalk full of information and helpful to those of us who are passionate about how to effectively inform the public!
Great presentation! Wonderful blueprint to use for building out engagement in our city.
The level of outreach generated by Engage PGH is phenomenal and very inspirational/aspirational!
Strategic Planning, Assistant Director (she/her) | City of Pittsburgh

Sharonda Whatley

Sharonda Whatley is the Assistant Director of Strategic Planning with the City of Pittsburgh. She leads and manages major municipal planning projects, facilitates programs to help neighborhoods stabilize and develop community capital, and works across disciplines to reduce disparities in urban areas. Sharonda has deep expertise in behavioral science, public service, planning, and diversity.

Infrastructure Engagement Specialist (he/him) | City of Pittsburgh

Jan Raether

Jan Raether is the Infrastructure Engagement Specialist in the Mayor’s Office. Jan is the point person for infrastructure engagement and outreach for the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) and Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI). Coming from a non-profit project management background, Jan is always looking for new ways to engage diverse constituencies in the City’s projects and deliver projects that make Pittsburgh Safe, Welcoming and Resilient.

Sustainability & Resilience, Principal Planner (she/her) | City of Pittsburgh

Martina Wolf Battistone

Martina Wolf Battistone is the Principal Environmental Planner in the Department of City Planning’s Sustainability and Resilience Division. Martina leads park planning across the city, working to create long-term visions and investment strategies that reflect resident priorities in parks and open space. Her work requires collaboration and balancing the needs of the public, City departments, nonprofit partners, and other stakeholders. EngagePGH promotes that vital coordination, as well as promotes accountability as projects go from plans to implementation.

Digital Communications Specialist (she/they) | City of Pittsburgh

Audrey Wells

Audrey Wells serves as the Communications Manager and Engagement Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office. In this role, she collaborates with various city departments to effectively disseminate information to the public. Overseeing the EngagePGH digital engagement platform, Audrey has facilitated more than 100 public projects through digital and hybrid engagements. Prior to her current role, she worked at Explore Asheville, NC, and earned her degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Digital Engagement Coordinator (she/her) | City of Pittsburgh

Laura Tsutsui

Laura Tsutsui serves as the Digital Engagement Coordinator in the City of Pittsburgh's Office of the Mayor. Her previous experience lies in news content creation and podcast editing. Previously, Laura worked at the NPR affiliate stations in Pittsburgh and in Fresno, California. Laura is a mentor and former reporter with NPR's Next Generation Radio.

Public Engagement Strategist (he/him) | Social Pinpoint

Dave Biggs

Dave Biggs is an internationally recognized expert in public engagement and using software to enhance public participation for planning. As a co-founder of MetroQuest, he has authored books and papers on planning, sustainability, and public engagement. Dave is a frequent speaker at conferences and webinars, and contributor to industry journals, where he lends insight into best practices for optimizing public engagement outcomes.

Head of Practice (she/her) | Social Pinpoint

Sophia Robison

As North America Head of Practice at Social Pinpoint, Sophia Robison supports and builds a community of best practice in public engagement within the public and non-profit sectors, particularly as it relates to the use of digital technology. Previously, Sophia worked in local government, with the City of Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning and as an Economic Development Planner for the Town of Brookline, MA. She graduated from Cornell University where she received a Master of City and Regional Planning in 2017, and continued training with the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).

Thank you to our webinar sponsors!


Start engaging with your community today.

Our expert team is available to show you how to get the most out of your online community engagement platform.