How to Bring Democratic Decision-Making to Authentic Community Engagement – Next City

How to Bring Democratic Decision-Making to Authentic Community Engagement

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

1:00pm - 2:00pm Eastern

Join Next City for a webinar with guest speakers Melissa Lee and George Silvertooth, of Concordia, as they discuss “How to Bring Democratic Decisionmaking to Authentic Community Engagement” on Wednesday, February 10 at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

We have noticed a paradox: communities across the U.S. are aching for the kind of equitable planning that is best achieved through the co-design of democratic decision-making. Yet these processes and power are often locked up in the hands of a few.

Concordia has learned through 35 years of planning experience that the community needs to be vested with the opportunity and skills to address the problems they face. “With an entire nation reeling from a worldwide pandemic, fighting economic insecurity, and facing institutional racism head-on, this is the time for collective action for equitable decision-making,” says George Silvertooth, marketing and production planner at Concordia.

To address these challenges, Concordia has created a resident-centered engagement process and curriculum called the Roundtable. This course breaks down the boundaries between the urban planner and community resident by teaching the skills necessary to negotiate competing priorities and find agreement on values that support an inclusive community.

“As policymakers, public servants, and nonprofit leaders shift resources to develop equity-centered, data-driven policies and projects, we must ensure that community engagement is a critical element in that shift,” says Melissa Lee, Director of Planning and Community Engagement at Concordia. “Without community-led engagement, even the best policy backed by the most robust data will not yield the results to deal with the issues that social inequities and the pandemic have laid bare, let alone generate the lasting change we need.”

Concordia’s Roundtable is transforming “business as usual,” turning traditional consensus-building methods into actionable planning and collaborative problem-solving. This panel is for all those who are committed to and believe in the mutual influence of community and place, and who seek ways to unlock decision-making from the hands of a few. This panel will amplify examples of how to deepen democratic processes in the planning of our communities and, perhaps more urgent than ever, begin to answer the call of our ecosystems aching for ingenuity and regeneration.

Melissa Lee is the Director of Planning and Community Engagement at Concordia. She is an urban planner, community organizer, social alchemist and reformed public servant, steeped in the certainty that anything is possible when radical imagination pairs with action. Melissa has over 20 years of experience shepherding socially innovative programs from inception to completion across U.S. cities. Melissa received a B.A. in International Relations and an M.P.A from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

George Silvertooth is the Swiss Army knife at Concordia, working as community engagement activity designer, planner, photographer, and graphic designer. He has worked on designing equitable and effective community engagement processes for diverse projects from navigating climate change in southern Louisiana to redefining public land use in Silicon Valley. George received his BFA in Film/Digital Video at University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

A video of the webinar will be made available to those who register.

This is a sponsored webinar. By registering for this webinar you are agreeing to have your contact information shared with Concordia.

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