Overcoming barriers to community participation in a catchment-scale experiment: building trust and changing behaviour.
Communities have an important role to play in the protection of urban streams, particularly with how stormwater runoff from their properties is managed. As part of a larger research project, we used 3 sequential approaches to engage communities in protecting their local creek by managing their properties’ stormwater runoff. We assessed their success through surveys and measurements of uptake. Our initial efforts elicited strong interest from the community, but participation rates were greatest when the application process was simplified and barriers to participation were removed. The sequential implementation of the approaches limits inference of their comparative effectiveness, but the results suggest that the iterative and adaptive nature and extended period of the process facilitated the targeting of diverse motivations and the building of community trust, which in turn led to greater community participation.