Government & Communities

City of Burien

Burien, WA

Community Connectors Program

Project Details

The City of Burien retained Uncommon Bridges, formerly BDS Planning & Urban Design, to develop a comprehensive strategy to engage the residents of Burien in City planning projects and ensure that future City decisions represent Burien residents’ values and needs. The City aimed to prioritize citizen involvement by hiring paid community liaisons who represent racial and ethnic diversity within the City, ensuring that the voices of historically underrepresented populations were not only heard but that long-lasting relationships with community members and leaders were also established. 

BDS Planning developed and implemented a program to identify communities of color that were historically under-engaged in civic processes, and then hired, trained, and managed six individuals called “Community Connectors” to improve civic engagement across their demographic groups. 

The Burien Community Connectors program works with trusted leaders from Burien’s diverse communities to connect more people to civic planning processes. The program is based on the trusted advocate model which honors the ability and knowledge of leaders from a wide spectrum of cultural, ethnic, and racial identities and experiences, including many immigrant and refugee communities as experts on what their community needs to thrive. The program brings resources, information, and decision-making opportunities to underrepresented communities.

Community Connectors are compensated and work with City staff to advise on engagement plans and program development, conduct outreach and engagement, create events, interact with ethnic media and other community media outlets, provide interpretation, and translate materials as needed.

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