Community participation is a difficult topic to master, especially since it hasn’t really been mastered by anyone yet, as far as I know. Apart from what I mentioned in the digital processes thread, there aren’t many groundbreaking solutions or concepts out there right now, to my knowledge.
It’s especially difficult for the reason @nmgraham points out here:
I think my only advice is that there has to be a balance between what the community wants and expects, and what the professionals know is going to work. These are architects, engineers, planners, lawyers, and finance professionals that all went to school for years to learn what works and what doesn’t. That goes without saying, though, that we should not stick to and only to the words of the professionals. Otherwise, this very competition and other similar ideas wouldn’t have any effect, and likewise, community members wouldn’t have a say, which sometimes goes a long way. They are local, and projects that consider its location and context are often more successful than not.
I recall a few architects/projects where the community was more involved in the construction process of a building, educating community members on what goes into designing and building our cities, and it could be said a more informed public will tend to make better decisions than an uninformed one. (I can’t find/locate the specific projects I’m referring to currently.)
Something not entirely related but definitely involves the community: designing and building “half” of a neighborhood, and letting the community design and build the other “half.” It takes the participatory idea to its extremes, and doubles down on the concept of affordable housing, but has the potential to really bring together and establish communities and neighborhood bonds that we seem to have lost in modern cities. The end result is debatable to designers. Some outcomes are better than others, based on individual budgets and design decisions, but some argue that’s how neighborhoods become unique and identifiable.