PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY INPUT TO RECOVERY
Long-Term Community Recovery planning is about people and the communities in which they live. Public involvement and input is critical to the success of LTCR.
LOUISIANA SPEAKS is the public face of the LRA and federal planning partnership. It brings together Louisiana citizens, federal agency technical staffs, local and regional planning bodies, citizen committees, non-profits and local, state and national industry experts to identify and address Louisiana’s long-term recovery needs and opportunities.
An important public input component of the process is a community visioning process that solicits broad representation of the local community so that recovery needs are thought about differently from pre-exiting community needs and immediate disaster relief. Long-term needs are captured and recorded through a series of input activities. The Louisiana LTCR planning process involves local community and state leadership at every level and includes workshops, community meetings, public open houses, draft plan reviews, neighborhood charrettes and regional plan visioning.
It is important that every voice be heard as key decisions and funding priorities are set for Louisiana’s disaster recovery. To that end, LOUISIANA SPEAKS hosted a series of events and engaged in several data collection activities to reach as many Louisiana citizens as possible to solicit input into the planning and visioning process. To date, over 10,000 Louisiana citizens have participated in the Louisiana LTCR planning process. Through the use of survey instruments, traditional media and alternative outreach, and with the help of local United Way chapters, the Salvation Army, United Council of Churches and Volunteer Organizations Assisting Disasters, more than 80% of Louisiana citizens displaced by the hurricanes had an opportunity to share their thoughts about Louisiana recovery.
OUTREACH EFFORTS INCLUDE:
PARISH “SCOPING” MEETINGS. Post-hurricane meetings were held by federal technical teams with parish and local officials to begin the parish-by-parish needs assessment process.
GOVERNMENTAL WORKSHOPS FOR RECOVERY PLANNING. Parish and local officials together with state and federal technical teams use GIS maps and other planning tools to envision a new future for each affected area.
LOUISIANA RECOVERY PLANNING DAY. With the help of the American Society of Landscape Architects, American Planning Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Urban Land Institute, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, American Institute of Architects, International Economic Development Council and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Long-Term Community Recovery Planning team, 37 Open House events were held simultaneously in 20 southern Louisiana parishes, five in-state and 12 out-of-state cities to solicit input from Louisiana citizens about their vision for parish and state recovery. More than 4,000 Louisiana citizens participated, sharing their ideas for rebuilding their neighborhoods and communities. Events reminded the nation about critical issues and needs facing Louisiana.
PHONE SURVEY, ONE-ON-ONE INTERIEWS, STAKEHOLDER PRESENTATIONS AND ON-GOING CONTACT. More than 3,000 Louisiana citizens have participated in phone surveying to offer their input to Louisiana LTCR planning. Many community leaders have participated in one-on-one interviews. Recovery planning presentations and on-going contacts have been made to community stakeholder groups — economic development teams, chambers of commerce, civic groups, non-profit organizations and others. Parish LTCR teams continue on-going community contact.
In addition to events hosted by LOUISIANA SPEAKS, several communities are engaged in their own planning process through LOCAL COMMUNITY RECOVERY TASK FORCES or RECOVERY COMMITTEES.
Perhaps the most visible of these is the Bring New Orleans Back committee. The LTCR planning process provides assistance and support to local task forces and/or committees, and continues to provide planning tools and technical expertise through the parish recovery teams.
Additional citizen and local government input continues through NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING CHARRETTES I, II AND III conducted in Lake Charles, Erath, Delcambre, Abbeville and Arabi.
REGIONAL PLAN WORKSHOPS allow another opportunity for community involvement in the planning process.