Introducing Lauren Wirtis!
Lauren is a recent addition to the IAP2 USA community, becoming a member in January of 2017! We are also excited to announce that Lauren is our 2017 Intern. Welcome to the IAP2 USA community!
Lauren became a planner because she is passionate about P2. She is interested in what people think about the places they live, what changes they would like to see, and how to get more people involved in their communities.
Lauren recalled a time she took part in a series of open houses that were engaging the community around ways to reutilize a 35-acre waterfront property. During one meeting, community members had the opportunity to talk to Lauren about ideas they thought had been left out of the redevelopment options. Some of these ideas were included in the presentation at the next meeting. People were excited to see their ideas up on the screen. One woman in particular approached Lauren saying, “That was my idea! That’s the thing we talked about!” She showed up to every meeting for the rest of the project.
At the end of the day, “it’s that moment where people feel like they are making a decision about their own lives. A shift in their perception of their own abilities.”
Lauren is a Planner at Maul Foster & Alongi, an environmental consulting firm helping communities with brownfield remediation and redevelopment in the Pacific Northwest. Like many areas across the U.S., former mills and industrial development sites in the Pacific Northwest were tied to rivers and waterways. Now shut down, these sites create unique challenges to sustainability and economic development in local communities. As a planner, Lauren helps these communities figure out how to investigate these sites for contamination and develop short- and long-range plans for remediation that include the community vision and lay out the ordinances the communities can adopt to inform future development. “Participation in decision-making should be accessible, honest, and truly impact the outcome.”
“As a planner in community development, I see my role as the facilitator and interpreter,
translating between the world of public policy and the experiences of everyday life.”
In Lauren’s experience, the biggest barriers to quality P2 are funding and time. Being efficient without sacrificing the end product is a tenuous balance. “I don’t bill for a minute more than necessary. Funding is hard to come by. Design standards are high, and we work hard to meet those standards without losing anyone in the process.” The amount of time and funding it takes to reach a truly representative group of a local community is, unfortunately, not always feasible. This can leave people feeling like they weren’t fully engaged or listened to, and being able to amplify the voice of those who have historically been silent is empowering to the community, and rewarding to those facilitating the conversation.
I think it is safe to say that the national political context is influencing public participation and decision-making processes across the country. Involvement is happening in a number of ways that are hard to miss – the Women’s March on Washington, the recent Town Hall meetings with elected officials and new groups like @USIndivisible, @TheKindnessMovement, and @AltNationalParkService. Engagement abounds.
While it is exciting to see so many people engaging in democracy for the first time, much of this engagement is inspired by a decline in trust of government and an increase in resistance, fear and anger. If public participation is something we have in common and operates against what potentially divides us, its capacity to be a shared norm is surely being tested in this time of high conflict and uncertainty.
Truly, events at the national level are changing the ways people engage in our democracy at all levels. As individuals, we may be asking ourselves whether our country is irreparably divided; whether we are still able to make good decisions together; and what might our role be in this context as a P2 practitioner, process owner, and/or stakeholder.
IAP2’s Core Values are based on shared premises of Democracy. Fundamentally, we believe that decisions made together have the potential to be stronger and more informed, as well as have lasting benefits well beyond the decision itself in terms of restoring trust and relationships So how can we lead a positive, constructive way forward based on our Core Values and skills?
We’re beginning the conversation by hosting a World Café session at the upcoming San Diego Skills Symposium to explore these questions and define a way forward. Join IAP2 USA Board members, local experts, Symposium trainers and participants for a World Café exploring these questions Monday, February 27 at the IAP2 USA Skills Symposium, Bahia.
|Date: Monday, February 27th from 5:30 – 7:00
Location: Bahia Resort Hotel, Del Mar Room
Event flyer – Pass it on!
Your input will create action steps for IAP2 USA, practitioners, decision-makers and individuals. As a first-of-its kind session, what we learn here will inform decisions about how IAP2 USA can best have this conversation at a national level. Ideas will also be shared through IAP2 USA’s national network of nearly 1,000 members, and in outreach via local chapters and IAP2’s international network.
Make a difference right now and join us. Register here.
This event is made possible by the hard work and engagement of IAP2 USA Board members Cathy Smith, Kit Cole, Wendy Lowe and P2 practitioner Lewis Michaelson. I would like to thank them and our sponsors: The Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University, Cityworks, Kit Cole Consulting, Katz & Associates, P2 Solutions and Somers-Jaramillo + Associates for supporting this important conversation.
Thank you sponsors!!!
Chris Hartye was formally introduced to IAP2 in 2008 shortly after joining the City of Hillsboro and being asked to update the Hillsboro 2020 Vision & Action Plan. Adopted in 2000, the 2020 plan was a 2002 IAP2 Core Values Award winner. The City of Hillsboro has most recently been recognized as the 2016 Organization of the Year Core Values Award winner for North America, due in large part to development of the Hillsboro 2035 Community Plan, which renewed the vision and action plan that guides the city. Hillsboro is a full service city with a population of 99,000.
With a background in strategic planning and stakeholder engagement from a business/economic development perspective, Chris recognized the IAP2 Core Values and Code of Ethics as largely “second nature” in the Pacific Northwest. It seemed a natural extension to conduct the City’s next generation planning efforts using the IAP2 P2 framework.
Chris gets the most satisfaction from hearing about what people are passionate about, “I love to hear firsthand what people care about, especially community members that don’t often voice their opinions, who aren’t always a part of decision-making processes. To directly hear their voice, passion, ideas, and dreams … to me, there’s really no substitute.”
Chris and his team made a point to go where people already are whether it be the farmer’s market, grocery store, or elsewhere. “When we meet people where they’re at, I find that they’re much more forthcoming as opposed to if you host a public forum, for example. People are often more candid, and more passionate, about the things that are important when they’re in their own environment. These are the conversations that carry with me as opposed to anything I’ve seen online or maybe heard at a public forum.”
“Face to face allows for more robust conversation, and the opportunity to discover not only people’s passions, but their talents, resources and the skills they bring to the table. It’s often through P2 that we recruit our volunteers; you wouldn’t know or discover these talents if you weren’t out there doing P2. It helps you discover the human capacity in your city. And then to try to empower that as best you can – find opportunities to involve folks in what they’re good at; what they’re skilled at.”
#1 Challenge – Truly and authentically reach diverse audiences
The biggest barriers to authentic engagement are often language and cultural barriers. “It’s an ongoing, day-to-day thing; a box you never check.”
Hillsboro has communities of “new arrivals”, new residents that often haven’t formed formal organizations, so it’s challenging to reach out to them but the process can be fairly straightforward. From the first awareness a new group is emerging, a few of the first steps are:
- Awareness and identification – Understanding the demographics, the numbers, the geography of where folks are settling; what languages are spoken by the community;
- Finding community leaders – Whether they come through the faith community, are in the nonprofit realm, the business community, or affiliated through the schools;
- Engaging and listening to those leaders – But not by asking them to speak for everybody. “It’s not: we’ve talked with these leaders, so we’re covered; it’s about allowing them to inform you – local government – on the best way to go about engagement.”
“We try to be deliberate with community leaders in clarifying that we’re not here to ask them to be representative or make decisions on behalf of their communities; rather, we’re here to learn how to best engage with the community. And in the end, it’s that “little bit at a time” that moves us forward to creating new futures together by allowing P2 to help grow relationships and capacity.”
Chris has shared his story about the City of Hillsboro’s Community Visioning Process as a Core Values Award winner with IAP2 in the December 2016 webinar, as well as at the 2015 ICMA Annual Conference in Seattle with City Manager Michael Brown, and he looks forward to getting more involved in the IAP2 USA Cascade Chapter. To learn more, visit our 2016 Core Values Awards page.
2016 was a year of great progress for all of us in IAP2. I am proud to share some of the highlights with you!
Your membership in IAP2 has created a nation-wide community of P2 practitioners and managers across the USA. Now, there are members like you in nearly all 50 states and 200 cities in the USA. Because of you, IAP2 USA is well on its way to a creating a community 1,000 members strong. One of our most important roles is to be your home for good ideas, inspiration, skill building, and networking.
Programs and Services
As our membership grows, our focus is on offering programs and services to support you. New this year, we initiated web-based training to make skill building even more convenient and a Certification Program to reinforce the professional practice of public participation. We encourage you to check out these offerings and continue to hone your craft. We also launched a national student scholarship (for which applications are now open), a tiered Government Membership rate, and a government community of practice. More of these peer-based communities are being developed to link people in similar areas of P2. The second year of the Mentorship Program was a success and new applications will be accepted soon.
The year began and ended with strong national events: the skills symposium in February and the conference in September. The 2016 Skills Symposium was held in San Diego, and attracted people near and far who had one goal in common: to continually improve their skills. The year ended with the sold out 2016 North American Conference in Montreal with 240 attendees. Now, registration for next year’s San Diego symposium is open, offering 11 courses in February, and we are planning a great 2017 conference in Denver with more capacity to welcome our growing numbers.
We are building and strengthening alliances with similarly-minded organizations and developing ways to better reach P2 practitioners of all kinds. In 2016, we identified and prioritized a range of national, state and local partnerships, and added staff capacity to build and grow these partnerships in the new year.
A Strong Start for A New Year
These successes create a strong position to enter 2017, a year when the need for a strong community of P2 couldn’t be more relevant and needed. With this solid foundation and clear national need, we will welcome six new board members, launch a new communications campaign to increase brand recognition and value of our organization, and begin planning to update our strategic plan for 2018 – 2020.
Our objective is to strengthen P2 in every way: through recognition of IAP2 as a trusted and knowledgeable navigator of P2, through skill building of practitioners, and through building a national norm that values, trusts, and seeks out quality P2. While moving forward on these tracks, we’ll continue to offer the great webinars, programs and local networking opportunities we know you rely on.
With so many great new opportunities, we invite you to get involved through volunteering at the chapter or national level. Now is a great time to be a member and a volunteer so that we capitalize on the opportunities that are in front of us to make a difference to how our country and its communities advance in the coming years. We’re also looking for an intern to conduct research, create content for our website, blog & social media, implement member surveys, support marketing and strategic alliance efforts, and otherwise assist staff. If you or someone you know is interested, the deadline is January 11th for applying for the internship position.
We hope your holidays are exactly as you’d like them to be and we look forward to new successes together in the new year.
The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) has invited IAP2 USA to participate in their field-wide inventory.
“Now more than ever, it’s vital for us to be able to say, with some authority, how large our field is, how many dialogues are held on an annual basis, involving how many people, and so on. We want to know what approaches you are trained in, which ones you tend to use, and which ones you train others in. We’d like to know which online tools you find most useful, and what factors influence your decisions about which collaborative projects you’ll get involved in. And true to NCDD style, we want to share this information widely.”
- If you are filling out the inventory for yourself, complete the Inventory for Individuals
- If you are filling out the inventory for your organization, complete the Inventory for Organizations
Please do take the time to complete this survey by the deadline — Wednesday, December 7th — if you haven’t already.
NCDD would greatly value your participation!
There was a lot of fear in the room at a recent community organizing meeting I attended – fear about our political system, the ramifications of the recent election, and more generally, a perceived lack of knowledge on how to engage. As the group discussed ways that people could affect real change in their local communities and more broadly, a woman asked how she could get more involved in decisions that affected her.
Despite having practiced P2 for more than a decade, it was still surprising for me to see just how many people had little to no understanding of the opportunities to influence decisions happening all around them. I was similarly surprised to learn about the large number of Americans (over 90 million eligible voters) who simply did not vote in this year’s election.
In recent weeks I’ve heard a great deal of concern about how the new political climate may cause a potential chilling effect on our practice and on people’s ability to express themselves. I believe the opposite to be true.
This is the time for Americans of all stripes to come together, participate and share their voices. This is a time for dialogue, a time to build understanding, and a time to engage in topics we are passionate about. As P2 practitioners, there is no better time to ensure we are engaging for diversity and inclusion. This is a time to reflect on our own experiences and improve our practice.
I encourage each of you to engage with your chapters and your peers to share stories, compare notes, and find ways to broaden the practice, to make it more accessible, and help all Americans share their voices.
Facilities Master Plan, he didn’t foresee winning the 2016 IAP2 USA Core Values Award for Respect for Diversity, Inclusion & Culture. What he did see was a district-wide commitment to honoring diversity and inclusion that he was determined to embed in every aspect of the facilities planning process.Three years ago when Tom Parent, Facilities Director for the Saint Paul Public Schools in Saint Paul, Minnesota, embarked on the process to renew the 10-year
To give you a sense of the magnitude of this project, Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is Minnesota’s second largest school district serving more than 38,000 students with 78% students of color, 72% in poverty, and more than 100 languages and dialects spoken. The district has 72 facilities (68 of which are schools), 7.3 million square feet of space, and 465 acres of land constituting a 2.1 billion dollar portfolio.
Tom was introduced to IAP2 in 2012 by IAP2 USA board member, and then Board of Education member of Saint Paul Public Schools, Anne Carroll, when she delivered a training to district leaders in the three IAP2 pillars: the Core Values, Ethics, and Spectrum. He joined IAP2 USA at the onset of the Master Planning work when he realized how the tools would play a critical role in changing the process.
“Getting off the ground was as important as anything. We understood facilities master planning from the perspective of technical experts, and we needed to be clear with everyone involved that we had a lot to learn from community aspiration, and how to capture that for our vision for the learning environments we create for students.”
Tom relied on the IAP2 Spectrum to help his team make the transition from “technical experts delivering design conclusions to the community” to engaging the community in every step along the way.
“It was important to consistently establish where we were on the Spectrum and target our activities based on who would be at the table. It was an iterative process of defining first where we were and where we wanted to be and being inclusive in the ways we chose to get there. Using the Spectrum in this way became very aspirational. We set ambitious process goals and were excited to see them come to fruition.”
Another early critical decision was to require every district employee as well as external consultants who participated in the Facilities Master Plan to undergo intensive racial equity training – the district even invited all members of the local chapter of the Institute of Architects to participate.
“From the onset a key focus was having people show up authentically in the process. We didn’t want people to show up with administrative privilege. The people facilitating the meetings had to have the ability to navigate the challenges of structural racism and honor different perspectives. The 16 hour training we went through helped us develop a framework for how we identify, talk about, and address issues of systemic racism. It’s about understanding these topics are hard, and there a lots of challenges that come with them that make it too easy to shut down, but we all have to live in the discomfort of addressing them.”
Throughout the process, Tom was most personally impacted by the student voice.
“Hearing what students had to say was the most powerful work we did. When we hear the perspective of students who spend 13 years in our educational system, and learn about how they work, socialize, and learn, that’s when some really great work happened. To give them the ability to have input into end design was as empowering for us as it was for them.”
All too often Facilities Master Plans are driven by compliance and destined to sit on a shelf. In contrast, this plan is intentionally not complete, but rather is set up to support ongoing engagement and planning to honor the process. “We’ve changed the culture around how the the district does master planning. It’s a living document that reflects how we approach managing our buildings and grounds moving forward.”
And Tom is sharing his department’s learning with principals and administrators across the district.
“This August, we did a workshop with systems leaders – the academic and operational staff dedicated to student learning – about how the master planning process unfolded, and how we used stakeholder mapping and identified the various levels of communication and engagement in daily practice. We were able to share how it doesn’t need this big process like a master plan to be intentional about including the end-users of decisions.”
Tom has presented locally and nationally on issues of long range educational facility planning, equity, and the intersection of the two.