This project focused on drafting a master plan for the eight mile-long tidal portion of the Schuylkill River. The public involvement goals of the master plan project focused on the identification of the features in the cultural landscape where residents and visitors could directly encounter a historical narrative that would engage, entertain and inform them. The thematic idea was to define narratives and interpretive modalities that would make encounters and engagement meaningful, delightful and memorable to a new river constituency.
To complete this multi-year project on time, the District selected a national team led by HNTB with JSA as lead for public involvement. The public involvement process included four rounds of city-wide “Comp Plan Week” meetings, numerous small-group issue based discussions, monthly/bi-monthly meetings of a 27-member Citizen Task Force appointed by the Mayor and City Council, inter-agency meetings, a “Latino Community Consultation”, and repeated presentations to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, civic associations, and interest groups.
To build consensus between highly polarized “west side” and “east side” residents and stakeholders, JSA undertook an intensive process to create shared solutions for geographically distinct problems. In addition to numerous technical advisory group and public meetings, JSA designed and facilitated a consensus-building public dialogue among key leaders of east and west side neighborhoods. This public conversation helped to move residents from polarized arguments towards collaboratively reached recommendations. It also energized direct lobbying by River neighborhood residents at the highest levels of the District’s government.
Justice and Sustainability Associates were selected to work on a team led by CH2M HILL a highly respected and global leader in full service engineering, construction and operations. JSA’s charge was to design and facilitate a complex and fast-moving EIS process that would attract and engage the culturally and geographically divergent populations on either side of the Anacostia River and further build consensus through education at the community organization level. The result was a successfully designed and facilitated process that built consensus through the use a variety of tools, including a project website, a newsletter, a project mailing list, informal meetings and workshops, public meetings, and agency coordination through the monthly Anacostia Waterfront Initiative meetings.
As part of a multi-disciplinary team with Torti Gallas and Urban Strategies, JSA designed and implemented a multidimensional public charrette that surfaced and addressed community conflicts while maximizing constructive contributions to the planning process. JSA provided training, meeting design and facilitation, workshop management and public outreach services. A key component of the project was to collaborate with local leaders to both empower their decision-making role in the process while also addressing feelings of mistrust among members of the community who had not been previously active in civic matters. Trainings utilized the “Five Capitals” model to encourage analysis of the human, financial, social, natural and built capital components of the community.
NCPC and the Smithsonian chose a two-tiered EIS process to establish a framework to review the building design and to provide an analysis of the potential effects on environmental and historical resources. Justice and Sustainability Associates, with significant experience in the rigors of implementing environmental impact studies, served on the teams for each tier. The Tier I EIS was completed by Louis-Berger Group, Inc. in June 2008. A Record of Decision was issued on August 5, 2008. To resolve the political and environmental complexities of the project, JSA provided much needed consensus building in the Section 106 process of Tier I to allow the process to successfully move forward. The Tier II EIS continued into the summer of 2010 where JSA organized the combined public and agency scoping meetings. JSA also provided facilitation and documentation of a fast-moving EIS process assuring broad civic engagement.
As a member of a national team led by HNTB, Justice and Sustainability founder and principal Don Edwards served as a special advisor for civic engagement to provide guidance to planning department staff for implementing a cost effective and inclusive city-wide civic engagement program. Over the course of the project, Edwards conducted a series of training sessions for planning and other local government staff, and helped staff the first of three rounds of public meetings.
As a member of a consultant team co-led by SMWM and PPSA, JSA assisted the City of Newark in designing and implementing a participatory process for the Master Plan Launch that would subsequently provide all residents with an opportunity to help shape the City’s vision. JSA principal Don Edwards reviewed, assessed and incorporated all relevant recommendations from previous planning efforts into a civic engagement audit; created a draft strategy for a Newark Master Plan Launch engagement process and recommendations regarding future planning processes; convened and attended partnering meetings in Newark; worked to determine the participants and process of a potential Master Plan Task Force; and designed, convened, facilitated and documented five “Listening Sessions”.
The African Burial Ground is a site of significant and controversial meaning within the National Park Service and is among America’s most hallowed. JSA worked in two phases to propose a civic engagement strategy and then write a general management to maintain and develop the complete burial ground which currently extends outside of the current monument site.
Justice and Sustainability Associates (JSA) team led by CEO Don Edwards served alongside builder, Skanska Facchina, and construction manager, HNTB, to deliver the 11th Bridges Design-Build-to-Budget project under budget and ahead of schedule. As a result, the project’s owner, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) won over eleven national awards and Road and Bridges “2012 Bridge of the Year” award.
In 2012, Georgetown University committed to a 5-year campus plan through 2017 and to engage in a comprehensive master planning process to develop a consensus 20-year plan. JSA was invited by DC Government and by Georgetown University to play a significant dispute resolution role. JSA thus proposed to key institutional stakeholders, including the Zoning Commission, that the GCP be adopted as the forum to build consensus between the three Georgetown communities and the University.