Featured D&D Story: Strategic Planning for Sustainability in Dauphin Island

Today we’d like to feature a great example of dialogue and deliberation in action, Strategic Planning for Sustainability in Dauphin Island. This mini case study was submitted by Dr. R. Warren Flint of Five E’s Unlimited via NCDD’s Dialogue Storytelling Tool (add YOUR dialogue story today!).

DauphinIslandTitle of Project:
Strategic Planning for Sustainability in Dauphin Island

I was contracted to design and facilitate a long-term strategy and implementation plan (more here) to create a more resilient community able to balance economic development with environmental protection and conservation. I facilitated planning meetings that included the public, the Town Planning Comm., the U.S. EPA’s Mobile Bay NEP, the NOAA Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Program, and state/county agencies toward designing a strategic planning process to achieve sustainable community goals, adhering to NEPA guidelines and the protection of threatened species. I assisted the community in identifying how strategic planning process could better inform the Island’s Comprehensive Plan and enhance future community resiliency.

The results of this strategic planning process emphasized major issues such as water conservation, community behavior changes related to climate change strategies, including energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, eco-tourism programs, rising sea level, protection of pristine coastal environments, diverse land-use strategies, and the general assessment of best uses for existing community assets (capital) to achieve long-term community resiliency.

The project planning activities developed both short- and long-term strategies for these issues and more. This project was recognized as a finalist in the International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2) 2009 Project of the Year Award. The international recognition by IAP2 on pages 8 and 67 in the above linked report acknowledged the diversity of environmental, social, and economic issues addressed, as well as the project’s promotion of the IAP2 Core Values in public participation.

Which dialogue and deliberation approaches did you use or borrow heavily from?
Open Space / Unconference, Study Circles, World Cafe, Appreciative Inquiry, Public Conversations Project dialogue, Technology of Participation approaches, Future Search, Charrettes and Deliberative Polling

What was your role in the project?
Project director; Primary facilitator; Process design specialist

What issues did the project primarily address?

  • Economic issues
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Planning and development
  • Science and technology

Lessons Learned

  • Important to employ multiple ways of engagement for the different publics in community.
  • Make sure an implementation group is in place before project of planning is completed.
  • Keep reminding stakeholders of the role of sustainability in all discussions for actions.
  • Public engagement includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
  • Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
  • Public participation must provide participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

Where to learn more about the project:

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