Democracy is Messy, and Getting Messier.... - 1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW)

Recorded On: 10/29/2023

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Equitable community engagement is essential for landscape projects, but what happens when passionate but misinformed community members try to derail the community engagement process by asserting their influence? See how planners for Zilker Park in Austin and FDR Park in Philadelphia are handling the challenge of building consensus in the age of contentious social media.

Learning objectives:

  • Learn how designers and planners are working to strike a balance among often competing visions for the future of parks.
  • Learn how municipalities and non-profits are allocating scarce resources to counter online misinformation.
  • Understand tactics that designers and planners are using to build consensus among differing factions of the communities they serve.
  • Learn how to effectively manage communications to ensure that voices that are being drowned out by the vocal minority still have a seat at the table.

Charles Neer, ASLA

Senior Associate, Landscape Architect

WRT [Wallace Roberts & Todd]

Charles Neer, ASLA, Senior Associate, co-leads WRT’s Parks and Open Space Practice. Charles’ view of landscape as a productive agent in the shaping of cities, countryside, and culture is informed by 25+ years of experience with urban landscapes, park master planning and design. Charles has served as the project manager for multiple national park projects such as the FDR Park Master Plan, Philadelphia, The Parklands of Floyds Fork, Louisville, Pease Park, Austin, and Explore Park, Roanoke. His work focuses on the creative fit between a project’s users need and the site’s environmental opportunities that result in equitable and resilient landscapes.

Allison Schapker

Chief Project Officer

Fairmount Park Conservancy

Allison brings more than 15 years of national experience with mission-driven organizations to her role as Chief Projects Officer with Fairmount Park Conservancy. Trained as an architect, Allison works to build resilience in public spaces that inspire investment and maximize impact. Whether building a six-acre waterfront park or conserving forest, she works to connect infrastructure, ecology and design with the people, programs, and finances that will sustain them. In 2018, Allison joined the Fairmount Park Conservancy where she sets strategy for natural lands management, planning, capital delivery, operations and engagement that emphasizes environmental justice, service equity and systems-thinking.

Claire E. Hempel, ASLA, AICP, LEED Green Associate


Design Workshop, Inc.

Claire Hempel leads a wide range of projects including streetscapes, community planning, and urban design efforts. Claire has experience with a variety of local, regional and international projects, including urban and regional parks, resort and tower designs, and comprehensive community and environmental planning throughout Texas. Claire’s professional interests include public engagement, planning on multiple scales and empowering communities by providing them with the right tools to achieve environmental, economic and community goals. Claire also serves on the Austin Planning Commission, the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association, ULI, The Trail Conservancy Board and the Red Line Parkway Initiative Board.


Video: Democracy is Messy, and Getting Messier.... - 1.0 PDH (LA CES/HSW)
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Session Guide
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10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  8/10 points to pass
10 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  8/10 points to pass Successful completion of this quiz is required to earn PDH for this webinar.
1.00 PDH credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 PDH credit  |  Certificate available
8 Questions