Community Planning for Success
By Jan Bennett
We all know that change from within the community can be a powerful thing. But it can be just as difficult to keep so many voices on track to achieve a particular goal.
Gloria Francesca Mengual of Everyday Democracy: Ideas &Tools for Community Change offers some great advice for how to achieve “Community Planning for Success.” (Click to read original article.)
According to Mengual, “The most successful community-planning efforts involve residents as partners, from the early planning stage through to implementation.” She says that using professional planners to avoid conflict between residents might not be advantageous. The planning process will provide an opportunity for residents to express their passions about their community and offer ideas suited for their community. These should be planned community conversations.
“Residents identifying community issues and considering potential solutions together also creates a sense of accountability among participants.” Mengual offers guidelines for organizing community-planning dialogues that are based on experiences from successful planning efforts. (The following are abbreviated guidelines, but you can click here to read them in full.)
- Build Trust Up Front – help people understand their role in successful planning.
- Involve Everyone - Invite everyone in the community to participate – diversity creates strength.
- Hold Facilitated Dialogues – Create a dialogue guide reflecting community concerns and hopes.
- Follow-up - Give updates on the developing community plan and welcome feedback.
- Get the Word Out – Inform the overall community and let it work for your.
- Help Build Social Capital – Community planning dialogue participation yields favorable results and actions.
Maintaining community is a difficult achievement, but well worth the invested time. These are not lofty points set in place, they are tried-and-true rungs used to elevate to a community’s success. They are great morsels of information to keep close, even if community planning might be in the more distant future. Although these are some pretty great points of advice, these are just a few guidelines yielding rewarding results. What other outstanding considerations have helped your community achieve successful planning? Please use the box below to submit additional components that are working for your community.