How to Bring Democratic Decision-Making to Authentic Community Engagement


February 10, 2021
1:00pm-2:00pm EST


Melissa Lee and George Silvertooth

We have noticed a paradox: communities across the U.S. are aching for the kind of equitable planning that is best achieved through the co-design of democratic decision-making. Yet these processes and power are often locked up in the hands of a few. 

Concordia has learned through 35 years of planning experience that the community needs to be vested with the opportunity and skills to address the problems they face. “With an entire nation reeling from a worldwide pandemic, fighting economic insecurity, and facing institutional racism head-on, this is the time for collective action for equitable decision making,” says George Silvertooth, marketing and production planner at Concordia.

To address these challenges, Concordia has created a resident-centered engagement process and curriculum called the Roundtable. This course breaks down the boundaries between the urban planner and community resident by teaching the skills necessary to negotiate competing priorities and find agreement on values that support an inclusive community.

Melissa Lee is the Director of Planning and Community Engagement at Concordia. She is an urban planner, community organizer, social alchemist and reformed public servant, steeped in the certainty that anything is possible when radical imagination pairs with action. Melissa has over 20 years of experience shepherding socially innovative programs from inception to completion across U.S. cities. Melissa received a B.A. in International Relations and an M.P.A from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

George Silvertooth is the Swiss Army knife at Concordia, working as community engagement activity designer, planner, photographer, and graphic designer. He has worked on designing equitable and effective community engagement processes for diverse projects from navigating climate change in southern Louisiana to redefining public land use in Silicon Valley. George received his BFA in Film/Digital Video at University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Registration fee: 


Type of event: 

Partner Events

Learning area: 

Commun. Org. & Planning


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