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Creative Strategies for Planning Around Population Growth

Full resource: Art & Soul Civic Engagement
Date published: 2012
Source: Orton Family Foundation
Author: Orton Family Foundation 

Starksboro, Vermont (pop.<5000), found itself struggling to cope with a newfound population growth, the consequence of spillover from nearby urban centers. The town needed to find a way that supported both existing residents and the new-comers in the context of rising real estate prices and limited economic opportunity in a predominantly landscape. The Orton Family Foundation and Vermont Land Trust partnered to help resolve these issues through values-based planning grounded in community-led processes.

This case study shows how the arts can be used as a powerful platform for engagement. Creative engagement elicits strategies that help define deeply-held values, and which can ultimately build a shared community vision. In Starksboro this was a 2 year, three phase process, with the community firstly expressing their values through a storytelling process, then producing works of art which celebrated and provoked further discussion, and finally using these stories and artworks to collectively define a community vision which could help shape future policy.

This case study is drawn from the Orton Family Foundation’s Heart & Soul community planning program, an approach that engages citizens in land use planning as a pathway to vibrant, enduring communities.


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