Community engagement is one of the most effective ways to get people involved in the growth and development of their communities.

Tools for Community Engagement

Listening to the perspectives of the people in a community is critical to the change process. The tools below allow you to engage with residents, stakeholders and community developers to better advance meaningful strategies to address the challenges in your community.

Story Mapping Tools

Story mapping is the process of mapping a community’s valued places, people and resource. Residents’ narratives create a map that tells the story of the community from their perspective. By leveraging the shared values and meanings among residents and building upon them in planning processes, story mapping can increase the opportunities available in disadvantaged neighborhoods and help residents better access opportunities around their cities and regions.

Story Mapping Tools
  • Redlining Louisville: The History of Race, Class and Real Estate — This interactive story map illustrates the historic and modern-day consequences of redlining in Louisville, Kentucky. Redlining, which takes many forms, is commonly associated with the practice of denying loans in certain neighborhoods because of racial or socioeconomic characteristics. Louisville Metro Government is using the project to convene a year-long community dialogue and formulate recommendations that support wealth-creation and development opportunities in disinvested areas.
  • Engaging Communities around Opportunity through Story Mapping Toolkit — Help residents become co-creators of their communities with this story mapping guide. Learn about the different story mapping approaches and how to select the best method for a project. Discover the best methods for getting people to share their stories, and how to pick the best platform for sharing those stories.
  • Story Mapping in Action: Engaging an Immigrant Community in Planning for a New Light Rail — Discover how the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth and CASA, Maryland’s largest immigrant rights advocacy group, used story maps to bring a community together, making the addition of a new transit system possible.
  • Story Mapping in Action: Langley Park Community Asset Map — Learn how community members engaged in asset mapping to locate and better utilize their strengths and abilities to plan future opportunities for their community.
  • ESRI Story Mapping — The ESRI Story Mapping tool can engage community members and help them weave together their experiences, special places and authentic culture.


Discover what residents are saying about their community with the Streetwyze application: what's working, what's not and ideas for community transformation. Use the map to navigate neighborhoods and review real-time, resident-generated content. 

Streetwyze Screen Shot
  • People Powered Place-Making Toolkit — This guide, developed by Streetwyze, offers a comprehensive view of Streetwyze’s approach to community engagement.
  • Where Has Streetwyze Been Tried, And What Have We Learned? — Streetwyze made a big difference in the lives of the people of Newark, New Jersey. Once residents were made aware of the health issues in their community, they took action to strengthen local resources and bring about changes in policy, planning and service delivery.

Mixed Approaches for Engagement

Residents and local institutions are using a range of community engagement tools to transform, grow and develop neighborhoods, localities, cities, regions and states. Find out how.

Mixed Approaches
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