changelabsolutions.org 5 Engage Engaging Everyone in the Process Community engagement is essential to creating parks that meet community needs. There are three primary avenues for community engagement: (1) during the creation of formal plans; (2) at regular, ongoing government meetings; and (3) through surveys, meetings, and other tools or forums designed to gather data about park usage and community needs. Planning Process: When Plans Are Being Created All cities and counties in California are required to adopt and regularly update a General Plan that provides the policy framework for future development decisions. While parks are largely addressed in the Open Space element of a General Plan, the principles supporting parks may also be addressed in other elements (e.g., Land Use, Housing, Transportation, etc.). Community engagement during a General Plan update generally involves large community-wide forums and workshops, online (and/or telephone) surveys, task force meetings to help guide the process, and several stakeholder meetings. All community members should be encouraged to participate at any or all of these meetings. Two other planning documents of particular importance for a complete parks system are Parks/Open Space Master Plans and Trails, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Master Plans (or Trails Plans). Some cities and counties create specific plans to focus on these important issues. The planning processes for these documents should include similar opportunities for community input as the ones described above.