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Public Participation Working Group

Final Report

The Public Participation Working Group was charged with identifying ways to improve public process. The group has completed its work and delivered a final report outlining new ways of conceptualizing effective public engagement and making recommendations to improve decision-making, foster relationships and trust, and build community in Boulder.

View the final report. pdf View the final report appendix and next steps. pdf

The PPWG presented their findings and recommendations to the City Council on Aug. 28, 2017.

Community Feedback on Final Report and Next Steps

In preparation for the study session, individuals and community organizations are invited to provide feedback on the report and recommendations. Feedback was shared with the City Council and will inform implementation of the recommendations in the report, and the Council considered a draft implementation framework in late 2017. 

We look forward to your feedback to the following questions:

  1. What parts of the report that resonate with you? Why?  
  2. What suggestions do you have about implementation of the recommendations in the report?
  3. In what ways, can the city and community groups and/or individuals work together to foster culture change in community engagement?

Please send your thoughts and feedback to Jean Gatza, senior planner, at [email protected].

PPWG Meeting Information

Meeting Agendas and Summaries

Date Meeting Materials
June 5, 2017 Final report review and revisions; PPWG appreciation
May 22, 2017 Final report review and revisions
May 16, 2017

Meeting Summary pdf 

May 8, 2017

Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf Meeting materials pdf

April 19, 2017 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf Meeting materials pdf
April 10, 2017

Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf Meeting materials pdf

March 20, 2017 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda and updated Draft Recommendation Framework pdf
Feb. 13, 2017 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf
Jan. 9, 2017 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf
Dec. 12, 2016 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf
Dec. 6, 2016 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf
Nov. 14, 2016 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf
Oct. 17, 2016 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf
Sept. 19, 2016 Meeting Summary pdf Agenda pdf

Operating Protocols

Feedback to PPWG

PPWG Public Comment and Feedback Received - Summary and Key Themes


The Public Participation Working Group (PPWG) received public feedback in the following formats:

  • E-mails through the [email protected] address. All messages sent to this address were compiled and forwarded to the working group. Over the 10 months of the committee’s work, many messages were received from a range of individuals.
  • Public Comment at meetings. The working group scheduled significant time for public comment at meetings. Generally working group meetings were attended by several individuals who provided thoughtful feedback about the key discussion items.
  • Input from the Neighborhood Summit in October 2016. Participants were asked to identify issues and challenges regarding pubic participation in Boulder, principles that should guide good public participation and suggestions for outreach strategies.
  • City boards and commissions submitted feedback about public participation to the City Council for their January 2017 retreat that was shared and discussed by the working group.

Copies of all the feedback received are available below.

Key Themes and Types of Feedback include:

  • Hopefulness regarding the working group’s scope and level of opportunity for change;
  • Best practices in community engagement and examples from other communities;
  • Issues with current practices or specific projects in public participation such as:
    • Meeting notification
    • Process communication (e.g. description of expectations and how the community can best be involved, provide meaningful feedback)
    • Early involvement in issue identification and project planning
    • Processes for public hearings
    • Ensuring people feel “heard”
  • Suggestions for improvements such as:
    • Changes in the ways meetings or events are communicated, organized, facilitated and summarized
    • Ways to better involve those who don’t usually participate
    • Thorough compilation of feedback received
  • Information from the 2016 Community Survey that regards public trust and public participation

* Compilation of emails received; pdf * Compilation of Board and Commission Feedback to council; pdf * Input from the Neighborhood Summit; pdf More from the Neighborhood Summit. pdf

Public Participation Working Group Members

Darvin Ayre, DeAnne Butterfield, Michael Caplan, Carol Cogswell, Sean Collins, Ann Cooper, Sandra Diaz, Lisa Harris, Marjorie Larner, Claire Riley, Brady Robinson, Kristin Russell, Bill Shrum, Seth Spielman


At the request of City Council during the January 2016 council retreat and based on community feedback, city staff explored ways to improve the City of Boulder's community engagement and public processes. In collaboration with community mediators and facilitators, staff developed recommendations to improve dialogue between the city and community members that result in more thoughtful decision making and process development.

In May 2016, City Council authorized the City Manager to appoint a working group to recommend improvements to the city engagement process and public participation. The May 3, 2016, memo includes the selection process.

Staff Contact

Jean Gatza at [email protected] .