New Book Helps Development Approvals

A How-To resource for involving the community in your development plans.
By Felicia Oliver, Senior Editor | June 30, 2006

Community support is critical for development projects. But neighbors often greet plans with suspicion.

"Even projects notable for their attention to civic consciousness, environmental sensitivity and innovative design have been treated with a slash-and-burn mentality," says Douglas R. Porter, author of "Breaking the Development Logjam: New Strategies for Building Community Support," published by the Urban Land Institute.

The book offers strategies for tipping the scales toward success by providing neighbors with opportunities to learn about the proposed project and contribute to decisions on its plan and design.

It suggests that an effective engagement strategy can be crafted based on answers to these three questions:

  • What outcome am I looking for?
  • What might arise from site conditions, and how might the project affect the area?
  • Who are the people who need to be involved?

The book also encourages use of visualization tools to help a community understand what a project will actually look like. But it cautions against high-powered sales presentations that extol the virtues of the project without properly addressing potential negative effects.

"Breaking the Development Logjam" is available at,, or by calling the Urban Land Institute at 800/321-5011.


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