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A New Approach to Community Engagement

Community planning and development has never been an easy – or always equitable – task. The social and economic crises combined with the pandemic have further exposed this stark reality. Local governments and planners are coming to terms with this reality and rethinking how to approach planning and development development and programming.

inclusive community engagement local government

We were lucky enough to sit down with a few experts addressing this everyday – Mayu Takeda of Asakura Robinson, Eleni DeSiervo of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Katrina Lewis of AECOM, and James Vayo of the Southern NH Planning Commission. These experts are working across the country to build better communities. We talked about how 2020 changed the types of projects underway, the widespread recommitment to equity and inclusion, and how best practices for community engagement are evolving. 

Local governments, planners, and community groups have scrambled to address community needs in the most urgent way possible. And this has many, for the first time, thinking more deliberately about equitable development and how current residents should play a central role in shaping the projects and programming that will impact their community.

Our panelists shared some key strategies for fostering equitable and inclusive dialogue, cultivating relationships with community stakeholders, and addressing inequities that have only been exacerbated by the social and economic turmoil.

One thing is clear: inclusive engagement isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s also what builds relationships and inspires better projects. How can we bring more voices to the table? And how does listening to more perspectives increase the likelihood of success? 

Check out the recording of “How Local Government Will Tackle Community Engagement in 2021” if you didn’t get a chance to listen live. A big thank you to our panelists for sharing their wisdom, perspectives, and experiences! 

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