February 10, 2009

Often, community engagement is treated as secondary to the "real planning" effort — the planning experts begin with a planning concept in mind before asking for feedback. However, informed engagement matters. When planners carefully structure an initial meeting with the residents, community members can engage in an informed, expanded, and asset-based discussion about the potential of their community and present their own ideas, needs and wishes.

In this program, Ruth Wuorenma of Neighborhood Capital Institute discussed the importance of informed community engagement: why it matters, why many fear it, and how to organize a public process that balances the priorities of the stakeholders with best practices of the planning profession.

PDF of PowerPoint presentation (pdf)

Ruth Wuorenma

Ruth Wuorenma

Ruth Wuorenma has been in the field of commercial real estate development in various forms for over 25 years. Her experience as both a land use lawyer and developer spans national and international commercial real estate, market-rate and affordable housing, and various civic roles. In 2003, Wuorenma created the Neighborhood Capital Institute, an Illinois not-for-profit research and policy corporation, to help communities shape comprehensive master plans that are responsive to residents and marketplace alike, and that lead to strategic investment in land preparation and infrastructure.