Catalyzing Action through Convening: Facilitating Effective Workshops
Thursday, September 28, 2017
11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT
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US EPA contractors and staff present a well-vetted facilitation technique for public workshops used nationwide by EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities. The speakers have deep experience facilitating this style of technical assistance and their expertise introduces North Carolina planners to a successful method for moving their communities towards catalytic action. Session includes an informative presentation, a panel discussion, and a hands-on planning activity.
This session introduces practicing planners to a well-vetted facilitation approach for catalyzing action. EPA's "quick hit" technique is used by communities falling within a wide range of resource and organizational capacities, and the Office of Sustainable Communities (OSC) has several resources on their website (https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth) that support the do-it-yourself method for a variety of Smart Growth tools and topics. The convening and facilitation methods introduced in this session are the methods OSC recommends for deploying its suite of technical assistance tools but they are useful far beyond just EPA applications. Speakers will discuss how this approach integrates flexibility, allowing for on-the-ground adjustments based on the individual community and workshop participants. Planners will learn how to "unstick" communities through convening, work sessions, and by developing a specific plan of action and next steps centered on a set of community goals. These action plans are successful because they emphasize implementation and next steps and they secure clear commitments towards moving forward including purpose, roles, time lines, and resources needed. The City of Graham, NC will be on hand to provide a first-hand account of their experience with this technical assistance method.
Jason Espie, AICP
Caroline Dwyer, AICP
Benjamin Howell, email@example.com