Participatory Planning is an urban planning paradigm that emphasizes involving the entire community in the strategic and management processes of urban planning.

As a first step toward exploring a Participatory Planning process for Jersey City, SJC hosted a Concept Mapping pilot with a representative sampling of community stakeholders who were active in their respective neighborhoods. Concept Maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. Our goal was to define sustainability goals from the community, by rating, sorting, labeling and mapping them. This provided a visualization of the ideas that could later be used to make decisions.

The focus prompt, or leading statement was: "To help Jersey City move toward sustainabililty, neighborhood and community groups need to . . . "  Participants were then asked to complete this sentence.

71 statements were sorted into clusters by functional association and were then ranked based on what the  participants indicated for degree of Importance to them and Perceived Feasibility in implementing any of these ideas.

After running the data through a software program by Concept Systems, the results produced a shortlist of ideas that were designated by the participants as both IMPORTANT AND HIGHLY FEASIBLE.  Sustainable JC then used this shortlist to generate a roadmap for our activities, i.e., an Action Plan for our organization which is about three main areas of concentration:  1) Community Outreach & Education  2) Sustainability Planning for Neighborhoods and 3) Innovative Demonstration Projects.  More about our roadmap available here SJC Action Plan

Additional information about the Concept Mapping pilot project is provided here Vasishth-Concept_Mapping