Lessons from Chief Community Storytellers


  • Improve communication and public engagement skills with the use of storytelling.
  • Apply lessons learned from innovative community storytelling programs in Denver and Detroit and how to identify, cultivate, and use stories of place.
  • Learn how to use storytelling as part of cultural preservation and inclusive growth initiatives.


A number of cities have created new positions focused on community storytelling. These programs aim to capture the stories of place in neighborhoods, use stories as powerful tools to foster deeper community engagement, and shape narratives that define a sense of place.

Chief community storytellers from Denver and Detroit will describe how these cities started storytelling programs and then used the stories to shift perceptions and move people-centered planning forward. They will show how planners can be more effective in finding and using stories as a core part of their work and communication with the public.