Inclusively Engaged: Mississippi Delta to Dubuque


  • How to integrate inclusive community engagement to produce a more just and effective planning process
  • High- and low-tech methods and techniques for seeking the voices of traditionally underrepresented groups
  • How to measure the effectiveness of inclusive community engagement .


Dubuque, Iowa, and Greenville, Mississippi, lie at opposite ends of the Mississippi River. One city is 75 percent African-American. The other is 80 percent white. One is home to the Blues. The other is home to the bluffs. These cities have widely diverging cultural, social, and economic histories. Yet they have one fundamental characteristic in common — planning inclusively and successfully! In recently completed comprehensive planning efforts, Dubuque (Imagine Dubuque) and Greenville (Planning Today for Tomorrow) took planning initiatives to the people. Outreach purposefully and strategically sought the voices of traditionally underrepresented groups and yielded highly successful results. Using social media, apps, websites, video, polls, mobile-idea boards, postcards, and traditional methods, these communities built critical planning momentum. Critical issues reflected in the outreach efforts included rightsizing in the face of flat or declining population, generating redevelopment in the context of deep poverty, and designing a tightly focused and coherent plan from some 12,500 community ideas for a better future. Hear about the planning outcomes of the voices of those too frequently missing in planning process. Learn how these communities did it. Be inspired and learn how you can apply these lessons in your own community and planning practice.