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A Powerful Tool for Engagement

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

In today's digital age, community engagement has taken on a new dimension, and the Esri StoryMap tool has emerged as a powerful ally in the quest to connect, inform, and involve residents. From its inception, StoryMaps has proven to be a versatile and dynamic way to foster dialogue and cooperation among community members. NDC uses StoryMaps as an essential tool for community outreach, providing visually engaging data, tracking community progress, narrating the impact of community programs, and serving as an invaluable repository of information. Here are some examples of how NDC is using this tool.

Visually Engaging Data

NCR Corridors Reports

The Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization Program (NCR), sponsored by the City of Columbus, Department of Economic Development, assists tenants and business owners within the following eligible areas: Franklinton (W. Broad), Hilltop (W. Broad), E. Main Street, Parsons Avenue, Long Street/Mt. Vernon, and Cleveland Ave. The bi-annual corridor inventory report for each individual corridor now lives online. This series of reports consists of collected data and on-site assessments of commercial properties in each corridor, serving as a planning resource to assist in strategically selecting sites and areas of targeted redevelopment to enhance the impact of collaborative and unified NCR development. StoryMaps allows for easier and more visually engaging access to these reports. Transitioning this data to a digital platform allows the parcel data to be updated more frequently, keeping the information more up-to-date.

Franklinton Corridor Exterior Condition Infographic

Narrating the impact of community programs

Power of One and 614 Beautiful Programs

One of the most powerful features of StoryMaps is the ability to tell a compelling narrative. Beyond mere data presentation, it helps paint a vivid picture of the impact of various programs. One example is the StoryMap the NDC developed to showcase the success stories of two of our programs and how they have improved the Columbus communities – Power of One and 614 Beautiful. These narratives not only celebrate achievements but also inspire continued involvement, reinforcing the idea that community programs do make a difference.

Tracking Community Progress

One Linden and Envision Hilltop Community Plans

StoryMaps offers a dynamic solution for keeping residents informed and engaged. After the planning phase for our two community plans - One Linden and Envision Hilltop, these tools provide real-time updates on the progress of community projects and current investments. This ranges from infrastructure development to environmental initiatives, serving as a live feed of information, allowing residents to stay informed about their community's development. Using this tool to keep people in the loop, City of Columbus neighborhood specialists create a sense of transparency and accountability that fosters trust and active participation.

Envision Hilltop - "What's Changed?" Interactive Map

One Linden Community Development Goals

Repository of information

Sycamore Trail Engagement and Outreach

This year NDC embarked on an engagement process to honor Westerville's past in the newly opened Sycamore Trail Park. The park is thoughtfully designed to honor the individuals who bravely navigated the Underground Railroad to find freedom and Westerville's place in that history. One of the primary challenges in community engagement is ensuring that residents have easy access to relevant information. StoryMaps help overcome this obstacle by offering a centralized platform that consolidates otherwise scattered information from various sources. The StoryMap was used as a working tool to centralize available information from various sources and inform the Sycamore Trail Park engagement process.

Underground Railroad Landmarks in the City of Westerville

Whether it's information on community assets, local businesses, or current investments, StoryMaps make it easy for community members to explore and access engaging and visually appealing information, fostering a sense of connection to the community at different points in the planning process. StoryMaps have become a great tool for community engagement. It can streamline initial community outreach by centralizing information, provide real-time updates to maintain engagement, and narrate the stories of community programs' impacts, offering an accessible and engaging way to unite and empower your local community.


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