It can be easy to forget how fortunate we are to live in a city where avenues exist for your voice to be heard and your ideas shared to help shape your surroundings.
The City of Adelaide’s Community Engagement team are the people who reach out to residents, workers and visitors – and encourage them to have their say about plans and projects involving Adelaide.
Barbara Figueroa is part of that team. Having made the life-changing decision to move with her young family to Adelaide nine years ago from her embattled homeland of Venezuela, she appreciates the privilege that comes with living in a place where there are opportunities to contribute to the city conversation.
“There are so many good reasons why we should all assume not just the rights but also the responsibilities of occupying a space, and this includes participation in matters local and global,” said Barbara.
“The best outcomes are when the community’s personal experience of their place, and the City of Adelaide’s technical knowledge, pair up and deliver.”
Enter Community Engagement. But how does it work?
“We provide many ways for community to have a say. It could be a face-to-face approach, through printed surveys that we letterbox drop or through our online engagement website, Your Say Adelaide.
“Importantly, every project we seek community feedback on is available in hardcopy at Council’s Customer Centre, Adelaide City Libraries and our three Community Centres, as well as on Your Say Adelaide.”
To get involved you just need to register to participate online. After submitting your details on Your Say Adelaide, you’ll get a monthly e-newsletter with information on current projects you might like to ‘have a say’ about. It’s not just about filling in surveys, either. For some projects you can provide location-specific feedback on a map, others let you submit your ideas along with comments and photos or participate in an online discussion forum.
“Public participation through community engagement isn’t a vote, but it is an opportunity for your feedback and ideas to influence important decision-making. We value your thoughts that help shape the quality, timing, design, processes and relevance of infrastructure, services and experiences that we are responsible for.”
So, can one person’s voice really help shape a city?
“Absolutely! A person with a vision or a message, who finds the motivation and courage to share it, always carries this potential. For example, we have a young person to thank for the existence of the North Adelaide Dog Park. A 13-year-old North Adelaide girl presented her Ward Councillor with a petition signed by 60 people, requesting support for a fenced dog park in the city. This was the catalyst for the community engagement process that followed and later, the construction of the nationally awarded park”.
Visit the Your Say Adelaide website to register to have your say in any of the City of Adelaide’s current or future Community Engagement projects.