Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Informal Forum (8/27/10): Creating Communities, Fighting Sprawl

Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia, a civic engagement program of the Russell Library hosts public forums on a monthly basis to explore challenging public issues in a deliberative, civil way.

This month’s informal forum discussion takes up the challenging issue of sprawl in American communities. (Sprawl is the term used to describe dispersed development outside of compact urban and village centers along highways and in rural countryside.) Across the country, American communities are under enormous stress. Cities are struggling to survive with fewer middle-class residents, older suburbs suffer from traffic congestion and creeping blight, and rural communities are often overwhelmed with explosive growth of new homes and malls. How can we strengthen our local communities facing such severe problems?

A Different Kind of Talk…
In this community forum we will explore this complex issue by working together to understand the issue better. With help from trained neutral moderators we will look at multiple approaches to the problem and consider both the benefits and consequences of each approach, as well as possible trade-offs. Finally, we will explore possible actions that might make a positive difference in our community. Throughout the forum we may find some areas of agreement among us, just as we will likely clarify areas where our beliefs and perspectives differ greatly. This robust and civil threshing of the tough public issues that we face is the foundation for vibrant and resilient community.
About the Issue Guide…
This forum will use the deliberative issue guide developed by Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation. If you are interested in reading more about the issue, you can download the moderator’s guide fro free at

How to Find the Russell Library (parking, bus access, walking)
The Russell Library is located in the University of Georgia Main Library Building just off South Jackson Street in Athens, GA. Parking is available in the North Campus Parking Deck also on South Jackson St. Athens Transit and UGA Bus Service both serve the main library via the bus boarding zone on South Jackson Street.

The Russell Library maintains its own entrance on the West side of the Main Library building. Follow the path/steps down the right side of the main library building (the west facing side) and down the stairs to access our door. If you need handicapped access, please go to the main entrance of the Library and check in at the security desk.

More information:
For more information about this forum, please contact Jill Severn at 706-542-5766 or For more information about Russell Forum for Civic Life in Georgia, visit

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