Why Bother with Community Engagement?

In the end, all plans come to the city council for approval. (City of Aurora)
Community engagement is a required component of planning projects. Some planners take a “check the box” approach and others go out of their way to hear from the public. An informal survey at the American Planning Association National Conference asked what motivates planners to go the extra distance on outreach. The most common answer wassome version of, “It gave courage to our elected officials.” There’s a great deal of insight packed into this answer. Read more... Read more

The Pink Zone – Where Small is Possible

Old facades in Detroit, a city experimenting with Pink Zones. (Credit: Sandy Sorlien)
A Pink Zone — an area where the red tape is lightened — is the locus for implementation of Lean Urbanism strategies and improvements. The Pink Zone identifies a specific area where new protocols are pre-negotiated and experiments are conducted, all with the goal of removing impediments to economic development and community-building. The creation of Pink Zones is a way to formalize, encourage, and support this urban version of the American Dream. Read more... Read more

Revitalizing Neighborhoods and Engaging Youth

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Faculty and staff from the University of Michigan Prevention Research Center and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center have worked with partners in the Flint and Genesee County communities for over two decades. Over the past few years, Flint has been front and center in the news because of high rates of crime and violence, and more recently the water crisis. What we see in the news, however, doesn’t tell the story of the tremendous efforts and successes of community... Read more

Keeping a Bike Plan in High Gear: Montgomery County’s Public Engagement Plan

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Conducting a long-term master plan can be demanding. Keeping the public engaged for more than two years can be difficult. How do you keep your stakeholders actively involved after the initial rush of outreach efforts winds down? How do you keep your plan’s outreach exciting and relevant while also building a bicycling community? Montgomery County Planning Department’s Bicycle Master Plan is proving that engagement can meet people where they are, using interesting, inviting, and integrated outreach. Read more... Read more
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