2020 Themes Already?

Tonight makes the second stakeholder meeting in the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive urban planning process. If you’ve been following the 2020 Buzz blog that I posted about a few days ago (Get the Buzz on Chapel Hill 2020), you’ve probably already seen that some themes and vision statements have been posted. I like what the facilitator and planning staff have come up with and think it’s a great jumping off point, but from the perspective of my group’s discussions at the first meeting I think a lot has been left off.

The main thing I think is missing is coverage of the social aspects of Chapel Hill. My thinking on this was sparked mostly from what my small group talked about the first meeting. We spent a lot of time talking about making Chapel Hill a community that supports youth (ages 0-25) and that has a servant mindset. We also spent a good deal of time talking about Chapel Hill as it fits into the larger regional context. I can see how these topics might fit into the themes listed, but I think they deserve more specific treatment.

Basically, my hope for the meeting tonight is that people have the opportunity to add on to what was listed on the blog. One of the seminal works on public in the urban planning literature is what’s called Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation. Arnstein looks at public involvement practice as a ladder where governments either placate or manipulate the public, allow the public to be involved in the non-meaningful way or give citizens true power. 

I think Chapel Hill has done an excellent job with the first meeting of having citizens set the agenda and giving them real power. My hope is that trend continues at tonight’s meeting and beyond. Since there’s no WiFi at East Chapel Hill High, I’ll be reporting back on tonight’s activities later this evening. Be sure to stay tuned.


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