Austin Parks Foundation is continuously involved in community engagement to ensure that our projects and work align with community values and needs. What is your philosophy on community engagement, and how would you engage with the community to ensure that their needs around parks and open space are appropriately addressed?

Natasha Harper-Madison

City Council, District 1

The first parks I remember being of importance to me in my formative
experiences are the ones I visit with frequency with my children now,
Alamo, Dottie Jordan, Givens, Bartholomew, Springdale, Rosewood and
Zilker- I’m certain there are more but they are the last vestiges of
community spaces in D1. You effectively engage with the “community” by
meeting them where they are- always. Relationships that are built in
authenticity and true concern take time to build which is one reason I’m
right for the job- I have been building these relationships for nearly 40
years. In my block walking, and having people in this community inherently
trust me, one concern addressed many times over was that the East 12th
community believes that ALL of Givens park will become a dog park. I have
worked tirelessly to combat that narrative, both because it’s not true and
because I feel a duty to absolve the fear placed on east Austin citizens by
provocateurs. Community engagement, the assessment of values and truly
efficient engagement requires time, trust and local leadership- local
meaning you grew up in this community, have remaining family and thus
are a stakeholder in this community- period.