Select Page

Durham Strategic Plan Dashboard

Shared Economic

Create a Safer Community Together

Connected, Engaged, and Inclusive Communities

Innovative and High Performing Organization

Thriving and Vibrant Environment

Status Indicator: In Progress | On Hold | Complete/Ongoing

Initiative: 3.11 Assess and build innovative pathways that facilitate equitable community engagement

Connected, Engaged, & Inclusive Communities


This effort is to evaluate the City’s already existing engagement practices, how to improve them, and outline new pathways to maximize positive outcomes while making more equitable engagement methods commonplace in the City. The evaluation will result in a list of recommendations, such as how the City should place and train engagement staff throughout the organization, create more connecting points between staff and residents, and how to make sure staff and community members well informed about engagement within the City. This evaluation will also help us know where/how to build and change existing structures to more equitably engage residents in decision-making throughout the City. These structures could include community boards, official City meetings, and ambassador programs.


Key Measures & Data Analysis

Since we began hosting monthly Engaged City Training Meetings, we have received significant representation from City departments. In July, 23 city staff attended our first meeting, followed by 24 in August, 17 in September, 16 in October, 19 in November, and 32 in December.  

City staff have expressed extremely important benefits from participating and continued excitement about these meetings. We expect they will continue to grow, including even more departmental representation throughout the fiscal year.  

Engaged City Attendees

Why is it important?

This initiative is important because it addresses the historic harm posed on historically underrepresented or disproportionally affected communities that have been typically excluded from policy decisions and seeks to rectify it by increasing the City’s ability to equitably engage in efficient and effective ways that elevate voices not typically heard in local government work. With additional resources and expertise committed to improving our processes now, we can reduce future harm, promote equity, and make Durham a community that serves all, not just the few. 

What have we been doing?

We have been gathering information and training departmentson City engagement efforts across departments through our Engaged City Meetings. Each month, the NIS department holds a topical training to discuss equitable engagement approaches and things to consider carefully to support work across the City.  


Past Topics/Activities:  

  • Introduction to the Community Engagement Staff – Move If Activity  
  • Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint – Equity Line Game  
  • Audience Empathy – Empathy Maps  
  • Communication – Immersive Language Access Session   
  • Data Collection & Be Heard Durham Presentation – Evaluating Surveys  
  • Community Partner Joint Celebration  


Future Topics: 

  • Equity  
  • Transparency  
  • Accountability  
  • Belonging  
  • Collaboration  
  • Intentionality  
  • Reciprocity  

What's next?

Next steps are to gather and compare research about what other similar cities are doing. This process will include using an RFQ (Request for Qualification) process to hire a consultant with organizational change management experience to handle a large-scale organizational evaluation. This evaluation will be on how other local governments structure their internal engagement staff or other possible models for residents to engage in decision-making. City staff and local community members will be brought together to review the evaluation results, carefully study them for opportunities to increase engagement, and recommend possible approaches for the City to use. 

Budget and Management Services Department
Office of Performance and Innovation
Strategy and Performance Division