Culturally Competent Community Engagement

Robust community engagement is the foundation of all our DEI, capacity building, and resilience work. SPW utilizes a culturally-competent community engagement model that Informs, Consults, Involves, Collaborates and Empowers marginalized communities, public-sector and private-sector stakeholders in an equitable and inclusive decision-making process.

In collaboration with our non-profit partner, we facilitate both virtual and in-person focus groups, vision sessions, charrettes, surveys, interviews and strategic planning sessions. We focus on the intersectionality of race, gender and place in our planning processes and outcome metrics.

Mid-South Regional Resilience Master Plan Shelby County Government, TN
SPW was engaged by Sasaki Associates through HUD’s National Disaster Resilience grant to assist Shelby County’s regional resilience and hazard mitigation planning. Hazards included damaging wind; earthquakes, extreme heat & drought, flash flooding, riverine flooding, tornadoes and winter weather. SPW:

  • Assessed risks and vulnerabilities based on threat characteristics, with a focus on homes, businesses, institutions, and vulnerable populations.
    • Assisted with conducting site suitability analyses for potential hazard mitigation projects.
    • Assisted the development and crafting of potential policy recommendations and strategy development.
    • Assisted analysis of hazard mitigation.
    • Prioritized and evaluated projects.
    • Facilitated a series of community engagement sessions.
  • Developed Mitigation Recommendations based on the landscape analysis.


Community Engagement – Community Resilience Regional Planning Networks, MS Gulf Coast
SPW partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Alcorn State Univ, and Dept. of Homeland Security to conduct outreach and tracking of housing, relocation, training and hiring needs of vulnerable residents impacted by hurricanes along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Communities included Vietnamese fishing community, Latino and small disadvantaged businesses. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/29254701/serri-closeout-report-southeast-region-research-initiative

Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA), City of Memphis, TN
In partnership with TransPro Consulting, SPW conducted a series of community stakeholder interviews and customer satisfaction surveys, using a mixed-mode methodology, to capture insights into visioning and what matters most to community stakeholders and riders. The initiative facilitated the measurement and tracking of key organizational outcomes that feed the MATA Performance Scorecard.

DEI – VA Department of Emergency Management

    Partnering with the Olson Group, SPW:
    • Supports the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) with data collection, data analysis, and equity reporting.
    • Deploys culturally-competent Equity Response Teams.
    • Supports the Office of External Affairs and ODEI with language access needs before and during an emergency.
    • Develops and implements DEI training curricula and culturally-competent tools and resources.
    • Assesses and evaluates VDEM policies, plans, procedures, and programs through an equity lens.

Mid-South Regional Greenprint Memphis, TN

Funded through HUD, SPW was one of the consortium members for the Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan. The Plan enhances regional sustainability by establishing a unified vision for a region-wide network of green space areas, address long-term housing and land use, resource conservation, and environmental protection.

Comprehensive Planning Market Analysis Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Planning

SPW partnered with Bass River Advisors to assist with data development and analysis for a degree of change targeted market analysis of six marginalized communities in Memphis, TN. The analysis focused on market readiness, demographics, housing conditions, land use, development opportunities, and potential alternative project financing that could change the disparity in economic outcomes for these communities. The project was in support of the City’s comprehensive planning effort.