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Hybrid virtual and in-person walk audits expand engagement opportunities in Haverhill

Hybrid virtual and in-person walk audits expand engagement opportunities in Haverhill

As pandemic restrictions ease and we resume in-person activities, WalkBoston is bringing back our traditional in-person group walk audits while keeping many of the new tools we’ve developed over the last year. 

Haverhill was the first of our Gateway Cities walk audits to benefit from this hybrid approach. Starting in late May, the hybrid walk audit gave participants the option to walk through Downtown Haverhill with us in a group or – using the self-guided walk audit process developed for pandemic walk audits –  to walk on their own at a time that worked better for their schedule. Hybrid walk audits like this one can help us make the process more accessible to a broader range of participants. 

Haverhill residents discuss lighting conditions under the Winter Street bridge during the in-person group walk of Downtown Haverhill.

The flexibility of the hybrid model also created an opportunity for the Haverhill walk audit to include an additional virtual element — a bilingual focus group organized with Haverhill’s Latino Coalition to ensure fuller representation of the community in this project. The focus group added 8 more residents’ voices to the walk audit and gave us new insight into how residents use and would like to change Section 2 of the walking route.

The Downtown Haverhill walk audit illustrates how the larger buffet of participation options we’ve developed over the past year have led to more inclusive and robust community engagement. Have an idea for other ways we can include people in the walk audit process? Let us know!

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