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The onus is on us to frame community dialogue in a positive direction.

“When we plan, we raise people’s hopes.” These words from Kelwin Harris, Senior Outreach Planner with CMAP, encapsulate why emotion is often infused in the dialogue we have with our communities. Whether positive or negative, the planning processes in which we engage our communities bring out a range of emotions when people lend their support, raise their opposition, or just want to learn more so that they can make their own informed decisions. Kelwin was part of a four person panel that included planners and communications specialists who provided lessons learned from case studies and shared tips on how to shape positive community dialogue.

The panel also included: Berenice Vallecillos, Communications Director for Morreale Communications; Carolyn Grisko, President and CEO of Grisko Communications; and Trevor Dick, AICP, Development Manager for the City of Naperville. Special thank you to all the speakers, Adam Flickinger, AICP (SCB) and Gabrielle Mattingly (City of Naperville) for organizing this event, and the City of Naperville for hosting.

After highly informative presentations and Q&A, attendees came away with sound advice to apply in their own communities. The onus is on us, as planners and designers, to frame community dialogue in a positive direction. As Carolyn stated, “Solid planning equals good press.” In the end, Trevor put it best when he noted, “Positive engagement makes for better plans.”

A play-by-play account of the afternoon can be found on our Twitter account at:

Thanks to the photographer of the day, Todd Vanadilok, AICP.

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