Public Input Process-Create Your Own Design

Forewarning: this project requires a bit of background to make sense-sorry for the longer read! :grin:

I’m a landscape architect, which is tough to explain to people, but basically I do the planning and design work for a lot of outdoor recreation and environmental restoration projects, and I get into some pretty neat projects. Most of these projects are for public clients (cities, state and federal agencies, etc.) and so many of them include a public input/facilitation aspect.

I have a current project in Glenwood Springs, Colorado that focuses on a recreation area at the confluence of 2 rivers (3 Mile Creek and the Roaring Fork River). Traditionally, we would come up with design options A, B, and C for the whole site, then ask folks at a public meeting what they like and dislike about each option. This usually works alright, but some people always assume we are asking them to pick one of the overall options, rather than create a combination of the features within all of the options.

On this site, we (the design team) had a set of ‘base improvements’ that we knew needed to happen no matter what. In addition to that, we had a number of areas where we felt the public should be able to choose from a range of improvements. Overall, the community wants to protect the environmental qualities of the site while accommodating the inevitable increased use of the site, so this concept made a lot of sense.

Ok, now to the :glowforge: part! I decided to develop a ‘Choose Your Own Design’ activity for one of the public meetings, where people could do what’s described above-see the base improvements, and choose their desired additional improvements for each area to create their own ideal design for the project site. Initially, I thought about printing the options on magnets and letting people create the designs in small groups on magnetic white boards with the base design sheet on it, but to let more people do it at the same time, we settled on 11x17 base design sheets, plus stickers for people to choose the additional options. Yes, I know stickers could be made easier with a Cricut, but I don’t have one, and as I said, I started this idea thinking I’d be cutting magnetic sheets. Here are the 2 sticker sheets and the base sheet (edit: don’t know why these first 3 images are showing up color reversed, but full size shows correctly):

Here are images from the public meeting of people making their designs:

Designs and sheets, etc. were all created by me and my team, then printed them on Avery full sticker sheets, then cut them out on the :glowforge: Cutting them out on the GF required a bit of a jig since alignment needed to be really good. I just used cardboard, made a 8.5x11 outline that I scored on the cardboard, then I used some pushpins and cut rubber bands to hold the printed sticker sheets on the ‘jig’ during cutting. Here are some pics of the jig/cutting:

Overall, everything came out really well, and the idea was very well received-people enjoyed the activity a lot. The client (the City) really loved it, so that’s always good! Not the most exciting :glowforge: project, but was kind of a cool, novel way of doing public input on design/planning projects.


I enjoyed reading about this project, and your method of soliciting the community input. Also, I am totally using the rubber band push pin method for securing light materials. Genius!

Your method of allowing multiple users to design an area with flexible, defined elements can easily be used for all sorts of other things - like showroom design, office space, etc. Having the stickers, makes it possible for one person to show their vision to another, and allows on the fly budget assessments of the plan. Great project. Thanks for sharing.


Really cool way to get public input! Greetings from right down the way in vail!

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first, that looks fantastic. well done.

i work at an architecture firm, so i’m very familiar with the kinds of issues you’re dealing with. even tho i’m just a marketing guy, i sometimes get called into some of these types of sessions. we do a slightly lower tech (but much larger scale) version of this for hospital planning. print out a huge version of the building footprint. then print/cut foam core rooms, hallways, public spaces, storage, elevators, etc. then we have huge planning meetings with representatives from all facets of the hospital. and they sit down in groups and line up how the rooms will lay out and work among themselves to try to come up with their best ideas. all along with advice from our healthcare planners about how their ideas have worked (or not worked) at other facilities. after they get some draft layouts, they then take colored yarn and map out patient flows, supply flows, public flows, staff flows on the plans. it’s a crazy thing that happens over 2-3 days.

but it doesn’t look anywhere as nice or polished as what you have here. it’s a lot more down and dirty. you did a really nice job of creating nice, interactive visuals for a public facing meeting.


Thanks! Funny you mention budget assessments-we wanted to make sure participants understand the cost impacts of different options, so we assigned each option the proposed cost (for final design, permitting, and construction) and participants added up the total cost of their design on a cost sheet, which they turned into us with the finished plan.


Thanks! I’m out of the Denver-ish area, but work quite a bit and spend quite a bit of time up in the Valley :grinning:

Thanks! Nothing against the ‘down and dirty’ method-those are usually the best ones for collaborating and progressing designs forward! Sometimes just need to invest more time for a polished product for public processes :grinning:

Since you’re used to these types of meetings, you might find this interesting. Another :glowforge: project, but super mundane so I didn’t post it. I’m sure you guys use easels and big plotted boards for meetings-well I got some cheaper easels that are good quality, but the downside is they don’t have a center support so they are kind of wobbly. I made these super quick on the :glowforge: and they always get compliments/start discussions at meetings, which sometimes leads to new work or brainstorming ideas with team partners (engineers, architects, etc.) about how else to use the :glowforge: on projects.


Love practical projects!

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nice. and you get a little extra advertising on them!

i’ve taken recently to just printing out extra tall boards (like 32x72) if we are putting them next to a wall anyway. a little more expensive, but they don’t stick as far out from the wall as an easel and feel more stable. just some additional cost and someone has to have a big enough vehicle to transport them.

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Thanks guys! Oh, and don’t mind all of the dog toy fluff and pieces of dog toys on the floor :joy:

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just makes me jealous i can’t have my dog at the office.

well…I work from a home office, so there are tradeoffs :grinning: I worked at a number of firms ranging from 15 people to 1,500 people, but 2 years ago I decided the timing was right to go out on my own. While there are tradeoffs, I really enjoy it and there are some great benefits, like buying a :glowforge: that I use for projects, but also use for all sorts of personal stuff!

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i’m in a 10k person firm (little a, big E), so totally not gonna be dog friendly. but i’ve worked in small firms before where we had dogs in the office (before I had a dog).

i do work from home some, but i’d miss the personal connection too much to do it more than occasionally.


yeah, I’m fortunate that I have enough meetings and site visits, etc. that I don’t feel too isolated. I worked at a firm years back that was dog friendly but our 2 are way too high strung. Brought one of them in with me once because he had a vet appointment in the middle of the day. I couldn’t even leave him at my desk to go to the bathroom because he’d start barking…so he came to the bathroom with me-someone else came in (office building bathroom) and he starts barking like crazy from inside the stall :roll_eyes:


lol. they’re unique, just like us. i’m not sure how dany would do if there were other dogs. she might be too excited. and 100 lbs of excited is not always the best office dog.

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Really cool idea to get folks engaged and have some input. I like how you included the cost element too so that folks can see the financial impact of their choices.

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Wow, I was considered advanced by making early 3D visualizations, especially as the client could not make sense of plans and elevations. If we could have done the sort of thing you are doing it would have been so much easier. How much better to build that in 3D and let folks do that :thinking:

it’s all possible with enough time and money…

Much is possible now that knowledge is the key over time or money.

i get that, but it’s still all about time and money. we can do all kinds of cool things with models, but we don’t always do it because it’s more expensive and takes more time than the client will give us.