Storytelling, Not Yelling: Toward More Inclusive Public Engagement

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Certification Maintenance

CM | 0.75

Learning Outcomes

  • Illustrate the story-production process and the power of capturing diverse and polarized voices to find common aspirations, goals, and visions for community engagement and planning.
  • Identify the value of well-designed media, videos, and storytelling for aligning community goals as part of public engagements and charrettes.
  • Consider how using community-based storytelling and videos helps agencies and communities achieve goals to increase equity and diversity by engaging marginalized communities or groups.

Course Details

Stories are a universal way of knowing the world and adding meaning to our lives. Storytelling can shape how we see and form cities, communities, and ourselves. Powerful, authentic storytelling has the potential to engage underserved communities, break down barriers, realign planning projects, and build connections for inclusive, long-lasting change.

Well-designed storytelling offers planners tremendous potential by:

  1. Supporting a more accurate understanding of marginalized groups and local issues;
  2. Developing a more inclusive, equity-focused public engagement or workshop process; and
  3. Building buy-in, ownership, and connections to planning initiatives and action plans.

Communities, agencies, and planning departments are expanding their focus on equity, justice, and inclusion goals, but often lack the tools or approaches to achieve them. Storytelling makes complex planning challenges easier to understand and can synthesize different voices to identify common hopes, aspirations, and visions of place. This presentation highlights innovative video production and storytelling practices that have successfully supported public engagement and stakeholder workshops in both rural and urban contexts.

Presenters illuminate practical applications for harnessing the power of place-based storytelling in underserved communities to motivate active participation in visioning and planning for common goals.