WMU News

Scholar talks about communication in city planning

Sept. 24, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A prominent organizational communication scholar will visit Western Michigan University to talk about how a Midwestern city worked outside the traditional practice of public city planning meetings to plan the development of an urban green space.

Dr. Kathleen Crone, associate professor of organizational communication at the University of Nebraska, will present, "Stakeholder Turning Points in Community Consensus Building," at noon Friday, Oct. 3, in Room 1021 of Brown Hall as part of the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program.

"When city planning becomes socially and environmentally controversial, traditional avenues for citizen participation often fail to provide a forum in which meaningful discussion of opposing views can occur," says Crone.

Her lecture will focus on the development of "Wilderness Park," a popular urban green space in Lincoln, Neb. In planning the park, groups or "stakeholders" were brought together for an 18-month process led by a team of trained mediators. Crone will describe turning points experienced by the participants, and explore how opinions fluctuated or remained consistent over the course of the project.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program at WMU was established in 1960 and has supported more than 500 visits by scholars and artists representing some 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Carol Bennett, instructor in the Department of Business Information Systems.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 616 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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