How We Work

Co-Creating Solutions with Communities

OCOPOS’ 15 guiding principles drives our approach to providing community development planning support to communities:

  • Every community is unique and every individual is unique; we don’t assume anything from the start. We are creative and innovate at every opportunity, yet our approach is based on the reality of existing and expected constraints and an encyclopedic knowledge of what has and has not worked elsewhere. We push right up to the edge of what’s feasible without forsaking valuable opportunities.

  • No one knows everything – not even us; but, we are all experts at some things. Our responsibility is to fine what every resident and community member is expert at – maybe their knowledge of all the kids on the block, maybe the timing of the traffic lights, maybe the smells of the summer nights – and to honor that: to elicit that and bring it into the community plan

  • We don’t talk to communities; we lift their voices. We also listen very closely, and respectfully. ALL members of a community have something to offer to a community planning process. Everyone’s thoughts and feelings are valid. We are empathetic; no question or idea is off the table; we are not thought censors.

  • We are a co-pilot to the community: we build their capacity by hiring and training neighborhood residents, business owners and other community members, because every activity – even community engagement and community plan development is a platform to create opportunity for the people in a neighborhood.

  • We are not extractive: We compensate community members for their time and valuable input.

  • We are authentic and transparent, and request and facilitate this approach by others. We also respect people’s privacy, confidence and comfort levels – we use a trauma-informed approach to participatory planning.

  • We use an evidence- and data-based approach that utilizes the most up to date advances in technology and environmental and social science, including generative design, AI (artificial intelligence) and 2021 modes of communication.

  • We leverage technology, but we keep it in check: Generative design taps the best that computers and AI (artificial intelligence) have to offer, but we value human interaction and relationship building above all else.

  • We are results oriented; we do not leave anything “hanging” and don’t get stuck in theory. We propose ways to address community needs and leverage community and regional strengths and assets.

  • We speak plain language and try to keep things as simple as is humanely possible.

  • We give you our all: we don’t oversubscribe ourselves across a myriad of clients, and you get open and direct access to us.

  • We bring in partners and colleagues to check ourselves and review our work. We believe more brains are more brainpower.

  • We hold our integrity above all else in that we are loyal to the needs of the community and the resident-driven planning process. We are the community’s advocate.

  • We walk the talk. In our own neighborhoods, we’re just like you – we are fierce advocates for our communities and passionate activists striving to be the change we want to see in our communities, volunteering and contributing our talents, skills and experience: we are planners who are also organizers. We subscribe to the principle, Love Thy Neighbor, and Thy Neighborhood.

  • We work in Real-Time with Residents. The last couple years have seen incredible new advances in planning and design technology, and we keep up with it and employ it, such as using generative design.

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