Strong Communities Are Founded on Civic Engagement

Kelly Morphy provides tips and strategies on improving civic engagement - the key to healthy communities and desired outcomes.

While from a professional perspective, there is increasing concurrence among planners as to the importance of mixed uses, green space, compact urban form, and the pedestrian scale, Morphy argues we still have a gap to close in getting the communities in which we work on board with these concepts. Crucial to closing this gap is engaging in effective community outreach.

Aside from the imperative that "community members should be co-authors of their future," Morphy adds that planners should be proactive in their communities because involvement "improves chances of a project or program succeeding," "leads to better community health," and "builds social capital." She follows with sugested strategies for crafting a sincere, open, and effective engagement process.

The fundamental component in growing healthier communities is to build relationships, writes Morphy. Planners should be proactive in arranging meetings, come prepared to listen, and follow up with "a sincere response focused on acknowledgement and validation." They also should be comfortable in ceding control to "put the community's future in the community's hands." Even more important, states Morphy, is to begin any successful community-engagement program by identifying the desired outcomes, and developing a plan to achieve them.

"We can stand to be a bit more creative about the way we engage our communities," remarks Morphy, "...But true community engagement takes time, takes relationship-building, and requires you to build trust with the community."

Full Story: Want better communities? Engage them better!



Paper Craft Animation for Citizen Engagement

I have been creating paper craft animated videos to help explain planning principles and engage citizens. For the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) I am developing an entire series of these annimated "Community Planning" videos; the first of this set is on Complete Streets:


rob voigt
Urban Planner, Artist, Blogger.
Twitter @robvoigt

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.