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  • Redeveloping a Sense of Place: Using Storytelling as the Framework for your Brownfield Project

    Thursday, December 12, 03:30 pm - 04:00 pm
    West Hall A – Area C
    Learning Lounges
    Track 4: Community Engagement and Environmental Justice
    Ours is a traditional small town nestled in the heart of the mountains. This place, founded by men who stole an entire train depot overnight, is still alive and well with its downtown brewery, restored historic movie theater, and restaurants, thanks to the success of our brownfield initiative. Identifying the “vibe" of a community and weaving it into a story is critical for broad-based support for any type of redevelopment project. Because, storytelling activates people’s imaginations. Brownfields often sit vacant because they’re a daunting and complex; easier to be ignored. A vivid storytelling campaign that uses primary resources, first person accounts, and visual assets that demonstrate both the past AND future of a site as part of a narrative can catalyze community involvement in the redevelopment process. Better stories behind our brownfields trigger progress, elicit better partnerships, and give us better outcomes. A community that gets emotionally invested in a catalyst site or district will get their hands a little dirty and go the extra mile, and we’re ultimately left with revitalized sites that are a reflection and celebration of a real community. This session will discuss tapping into the heart and soul of a community to identify its vibe through effective public engagement, writing your brownfield project into a storyline by revitalizing an authentic sense of place, and centering your redevelopment project around your community's narrative vibe.
    Speaker(s):
    Matt Ashby
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