This week’s Planetizen features an article by two planners in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, examining how planners can work with the varied opinions and situations that arise in the community-based planning process.

They write, “There are many voices in the process of community planning. To create effective plans, planners need to welcome these many voices and their respective differences, not suppress them into consensus. Planners operate in communities of individuals and organizations that plan. Such multi-vocal planning is not cause for despair. If we believe that making and using plans enables people to achieve their aspirations, then plans should speak in the voices of poverty as well as wealth, renter as well as owner, recent arrival as well as longtime resident, region as well as municipality, and insurgent advocate as well as authority. Sustaining difference, as opposed to suppressing it, better equips planners to address inequality, marginalization, and oppression.”

They go on to explore four strategies: consensus building, ethnographic understanding, scenarios and forecasting, and comprehensive planning. Read the full article here.

How has your community or organization dealt with varied, and perhaps opposing, opinions?