How to reach a more diverse public

The terms ‘community’ and ‘public’ can mean different things to different people - as planners, it is important to recognize that in any neighbourhood, there are many publics and communities who need to be engaged with, and that residents are not the only individuals who include a site or a neighbourhood in their personal geography. Often people who work in a neighborhood, have elderly family members there, or even use services in that place can feel a deep sense of connection. Identifying the equity-deserving groups who have historically been marginalized or left out of planning decisions, mapping the power differentials that exist in a neighbourhood (e.g. between homeowners and residents of community housing), and then designing engagement processes that are catered specifically to reach these groups are all critical steps when planning any engagement process. 

Communities have deep and nuanced knowledge of their neighbourhoods - be respectful of their lived experiences and local wisdom, be mindful of the language used when speaking with them, keep an open mind, and ensure that you set up channels for long-term, two-way communication.

Lessons Learned

  1. Identify the equity-deserving groups that reside in the neighbourhoods being affected by planning decisions
  2. Being on the ground speaking to people is the best way to reach diverse residents
  3. Ensure engagement materials are accessible for a wide audience


Related Case Study


For City of Toronto staff

* Note: Links below can only be accessed through the City of Toronto’s intranet.

For Public

Have An Idea To Share?

We want to hear from you!

Share your thoughts