Pueblo Planning’s Guidelines
for Ethical Research, Planning & Design

These guidelines are evolving as we grow and learn from community.

Pre-Planning & Pre-Design Process

  • We are committed to respecting the sovereignty of indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands we are on and seek to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous communities for any project on their land. We strive to include and engage indigenous peoples in our projects and ensure that our work does not lead to erasure.

  • We intentionally devote our resources and time toward building relationships with communities who are most vulnerable and impacted by planning and design decisions-- low-income, communities of color, frontline communities, and environmental justice communities. These communities have been excluded from the planning and design process in U.S. cities.

  • As practitioners committed to a just transition, we only work on projects that can advance public good across interconnected social, ecological, and economic systems. We do not work on projects where public harm is apparent (i.e., freeway widening projects, projects that will further lead to pollution, projects that support the extractive economy, etc.).

  • Before engaging the community, we research local history, society, and culture to determine who we engage and how. The people we engage in the process further inform our understanding of this local context.

  • Community-based organizations/community members help us select planning tools, format, and terms of engagement prior to workshops and pop-ups. These knowledgeable partners are the best equipped to advise planners on designing activities are culturally appropriate, fully accessible for non-English speakers (in written documents and at workshops/pop-ups), and incorporate people with all abilities.

Community Engagement/Data-Gathering Process

  • The planner facilitates activities through which community members can articulate their problems and solutions, rather than soliciting selections from a limited menu of top-down options developed by external “experts.”

  • All engagement is child-inclusive.

  • Activities take place within spaces where participants feel safe and welcomed.

  • All activities incorporate different learning styles and abilities.

  • Community organization partners are adequately compensated.

  • Individual participants are adequately compensated.

  • We create a space of healing rather than extraction.

  • We design activities that build community.

  • At data-gathering activities, we provide details to community participants about how their knowledge will inform the planning process. These details include project timeline, the data analysis process and how community input will be used within it, whether there is funding for implementation and if so how much funding, and what elements they have the ability to make decisions about.

  • Our analysis process is transparent, clearly showing  how data was gathered using Pueblo’s ethical planning and research guidelines.

Post Data-Gathering Process

  • We work with project partners to ensure that local historical, social, socio-economic, and cultural context is included in the narrative of project documents in order to provide a basis for understanding and analyzing community input.

  • We report back to community organization partners in appropriate language.

  • We support research participants in continuing to engage with project planning and political processes (submitting public comments, etc.).

  • When possible, we incorporate opportunities for “rapid-prototyping” (i.e., demonstration projects, streets being striped, small community projects, etc.).

Analysis & Documentation Process

  • We honor community knowledge by citing particular participants as the direct source of information, giving credit where credit is due.

  • We operate with an intersectional understanding of community needs, which informs our approach to planning and design. For example, if a transportation corridor plan is being developed, residents may share concerns that housing affordability may be decreased as a result of improved infrastructure. They may want specific considerations and protections from displacement and gentrification. These issues will be included in a report about transportation in order to acknowledge that people do not experience the built environment in silos.

  • Prior to the client receiving project reports, all members of the research team must have adequate time to analyze data and develop cross-sectional findings.

  • Prior to the client receiving project reports, we re-engage community partners and activity participants to review our findings. This review process must be included in the project budget and timeline.

  • We believe that “best practices” must be community-informed and ensure that they are  applied with alterations that are informed by local knowledge, history, social and cultural considerations.

Pueblo and Prime Contractor Relationship

Pueblo is a values-driven participatory planning and design social enterprise.  We developed and adhere to a set of ethical planning and research guidelines designed to maintain our integrity and treat community members with dignity.  The following elements are integral to ensuring that Pueblo can uphold its guidelines through our relationship with the Prime Contractor.

  • Transparency & Communication: Communication between Pueblo, Prime, and Client must be open and transparent. This is the only way we can ensure that participants in community activities have access to information about how their knowledge will be applied in the planning process and where they can play a decision-making role.

  • Honoring Community Voice:  There must be opportunities for community partners and activity participants to review draft project reports prior to client review. This will ensure that participants were heard and documented correctly. This process is built into the project timeline and budget.

  • Collaborative Analysis Process: The data analysis process must be a collaboration between Pueblo and the Prime Contractor that is completed prior to the Client reviewing project findings. Pueblo’s summary and analysis document must be included in its entirety as a report or plan appendix.

  • Ethical Payment Practices: As a values-based organization, we ensure that subcontractors and partners are adequately compensated and paid according to a reasonable and transparent timeline. Hence, payment to Pueblo must be made within 30 days of submitting invoices so that Pueblo is able to fulfill this promise to sub-consultants and partners.

  • Relationship: We only partners with Prime contractors with whom we have a previous relationship and/or a Prime that complies with Pueblo’s ethical research and planning guidelines.

Pueblo Planning’s Guidelines are influenced by the following:

Creative Commons License
Pueblo Planning's Guidelines for Ethical Research, Planning & Design by Monique G. Lopez & Adonia E. Lugo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.