KLA Perspectives

It's Always the Right Time to Start Using an Editorial Calendar

Posted by Kim Lundgren on May 13, 2022 8:24:48 AM

Use this template to be more targeted, timely and effective with your climate and sustainability communications

Think about what makes the news headlines or gains social media traction. Some of it -- a sports upset, political spat or Hollywood faux pas (no one predicted that Will Smith slap) -- you can't plan for. But a lot of it you can. 

The Super Bowl and its buzz worthy commercials hit every winter. Bill Murray memes will pop up on Groundhog Day,  just as you'll see Yoda and Darth Vader everywhere on May the Fourth/May the Force day. Earth Day stretches across April. Every May is Bike Month. Summer heat waves happen. The holidays will consume us all in November and December. 

The only question is: are you ready to leverage those opportunities for your climate and sustainability goals? 

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Topics: community engagement, communications

5 Ways to Tap Into Your Community's Earth Day Momentum

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Apr 11, 2022 9:09:13 PM

For local governments, engaging the community is key to achieving climate goals, and Earth Day is one of the best opportunities to get people to take action. That’s especially true right now when the recent headlines – like USA Today’s "'It's now or never': UN climate report shows globe is on 'track toward an unlivable world'"-- are driving awareness and, ideally, action.

The next few weeks are when people will be searching online for ways to "go green." It's when you have the chance to convert someone looking for a one-time litter or river clean up into a regular participant in your climate programs.

Earth Day can be a springboard for climate action in your community.

But you can't do this if people need a PhD to understand the challenges your community faces and where you're headed. Or if they have to navigate a typical local government website to find the most effective actions. Don’t lose the Earth Day momentum!

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, dashboard, resilience, earth day, KLA

Heat Pump Coaches Get Residents -- and Climate Goals -- to Yes

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Mar 28, 2022 10:38:01 AM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.

Heat pump coaches in Concord, MA, help meet a climate goal:
getting homeowners to transition to efficient heating and cooling

“Why You (and the Planet) Really Need a Heat Pump.” We saw this headline the other day and our minds went to KLA client Concord, MA.

Like many communities sifting through data to identify the biggest-bang-for-your-buck ways to slash greenhouse gas emissions, getting more residents to switch to heat pumps emerged for Concord as a top strategy. But the process of transitioning a heating or cooling system to a new fuel source – plus choosing the right equipment and installer -- can be daunting for people. To begin with, don’t assume that heat pump technology and the benefits are common knowledge. In fact, a recent survey done by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) found that 50% of Massachusetts residents do not know what heat pumps are.

So it wasn’t surprising that in Concord the uptake of heat pumps to meet climate action goals was happening too slow and needed a nudge.

That nudge comes in the form of a coach.

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Topics: community engagement, local leadership, climate leadership, bright ideas

How an Employee Climate Training Program Can Boost Engagement and Action

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Feb 22, 2022 12:45:00 PM

KLA clients lead the way with innovative, scalable, replicable climate solutions at the local level.
Each month in 2022 we will shine a spotlight on their bright ideas.

A key but often overlooked strategy for local climate action plans is a training program for city/town/county employees to raise awareness of climate challenges and solutions among an important audience.

That wasn’t lost on KLA client San Antonio, which included “educate and empower all residents with knowledge to address climate change in the community and at the workplace” as a strategy in their Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. And they’ve already made good on that promise through a robust and ongoing employee training program.

For a city that employs 13,000 people, leading by example can make a big dent.

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Topics: community engagement, local leadership, climate leadership, bright ideas

Denver's Chief Storyteller on the Power of Stories to Engage Your Community

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Oct 29, 2019 12:35:14 PM

In the local government world, we are constantly trying to push information OUT to members of our community. A new initiative. Results from a previous initiative. A planning process. A public forum. A revamped website. Even when we’re seeking people’s feedback, we’re asking them *our* questions in a survey.  

Which is why I found my recent conversation with Rowena Alegria for KLA’s SAS Talk with Kim podcast so fascinating. Alegria has the supremely cool title of Chief Storyteller for the City and County of Denver, Colorado, and the even cooler goal to “change the history of Denver,” one story at a time. 

LISTEN NOW. 

Her team’s approach -- the core of which is a “storytelling lab” -- has had the amazing result of turning interactions with residents into two-way conversations, the holy grail of community engagement. And these aren’t just the usual suspects. Denver’s storytelling labs have drawn a diverse array of Denverites and catalogued stories that you won’t hear at a typical public meeting. 

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Topics: community engagement, storytelling

New Resource! 4 Steps to Add Street Teams to Your Equity + Community Engagement Efforts

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Sep 25, 2019 10:17:17 PM

KLA's Summer Intern takes a look at our latest resource, a 4-step guidance document on adding "street teams" to your community engagement strategies.

By: Claire McCoy

We know that one of the most effective ways to effectively engage your community during a planning or similar process is to get out in the community. To be present at community events. To convene small get-togethers. To show up at the places where people live, work, play and commute. 

But for busy local government staff, that can be a time and resource intensive exercise. And you might not be in the best position to get honest feedback. 

 

That’s why a key ingredient for robust, equitable engagement is street teams. 

Given the questions about and interest in street teams on our recent Equitable Engagement webinar, we pulled together a resource on the topic. It includes:

  • a detailed 4-step Recruit-Train-Coordinate-Evaluate process
  • best practices for getting your municipality’s first street team up and running
  • pro tips
  • resources like job descriptions and contracts 

Download our 4-Step Street Teams Guidance

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Topics: community engagement, equity, planning, youth outreach

Box City: What Our Kids Are Learning - And Can Teach Us

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Jun 25, 2019 2:05:12 PM

School has just ended here in Boston, giving me time to reflect on all that my daughter, Charlotte, learned and accomplished in 3rd grade.

As a planner and sustainability professional working with local governments, I had a “proud mommy” moment visiting her class to check out Box City. A collaborative class project, Box City can tell cities a lot about what their future citizens want. 

It also got me thinking about the importance of two things we talk about with KLA clients often: youth engagement and regenerative thinking. 

The Kids are Alright

As these photos suggest, our kids are big thinkers. Here are some of the ways their ideas struck me forward-thinking: 

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Topics: community engagement, planning, youth outreach

How Indianapolis Used Animals, Bikes, Yoga and a Passport to Engage Kids in Sustainability Planning

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 24, 2018 1:58:51 PM

Earlier we wrote about KLA’s work with the City of Indianapolis to think outside the box for public engagement in developing their Sustainability and Resilience Plan. Part of the Thrive Indianapolis approach is a focus on several populations that are not typically engaged in a community planning process, including youth. 

Young people -- which we defined loosely as elementary through high school ages -- will, after all, be the ones living with the impacts of today’s decisions longer than the rest of us.

So Indianapolis pulled together the first Thrive Community Day in mid-August as an end-of-summer celebratory and educational event specifically designed to engage a younger audience. It was a hit. 

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, cities, youth outreach

Beyond the Usual Suspects: 4 Public Engagement Strategies from Thrive Indianapolis

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 9, 2018 9:31:00 AM
Read a quick update on Thrive Indianapolis, "How Indianapolis Used Animals, Bikes, Yoga, and a Passport to Engage Kids in Sustainability Planning." 

Many sustainability planning processes (and indeed planning processes in general) tout community engagement as the cornerstone of plan development. But we often see the same actors engaged time after time. These are often representatives and members of environmental nonprofits and super civic-minded citizens. While their opinions are important, ultimately the needs and perspectives of huge swaths of the community are not reflected in the final plans because they weren’t given the right opportunity to voice them.

That was not the approach Indianapolis wanted to take when they embarked on their Sustainability and Resilience planning process and brought the KLA Team in to manage it. The plan -- called Thrive Indianapolis -- brings together City agencies, community partners, and residents to chart a course for an Indianapolis that is equitable, healthier, and prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. It encompasses 8 “plan elements”:

  • Built Environment
  • Economy
  • Energy
  • Food & Urban Agriculture
  • Natural Resources
  • Public Health & Safety
  • Transportation & Land Use
  • Waste & Recycling


So it touches on everything -- and everyone -- from infrastructure to parks to jobs to food access to transportation options to safe streets to air and water quality. We’re still only halfway through the process, but so far the approach we’ve taken with the City and our partners to really shake up the standard community engagement game is showing results.

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, KLA, cities, indianapolis

How a Game, Surveys + Virtual Reality Can Support Your Resilience + Preparedness Outreach

Posted by Kim Lundgren on Aug 6, 2018 9:30:00 AM

3 Unique Ways to Get Your Stakeholders + Community Involved in Emergency Preparedness and Climate Resilience

We’re in the middle of hurricane and wildfire seasons with other parts of the country battling heat waves and others recovering from flooding. And we’re weeks away from National Emergency Preparedness Month (September). Is your community ready if your number is up?

There are plenty of ways to engage community members and key stakeholders in your emergency preparedness and climate resilience planning.  We're taking a look at 3 -- a game, a survey tool and virtual reality -- that we think are the most fun and effective. 

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Topics: sustainability, community engagement, resilience, cities, preparedness