On Friday, October 21, MORPC held its annual Summit on Sustainability, bringing together over five hundred community leaders to exchange ideas and best practices to enhance the built environment in which we live.

The insight2050 findings surrounding Central Ohio’s growing population and changing development preferences were again a topic of discussion at this year’s Summit. With Central Ohio on pace to grow by up to one million people by 2050, insight2050 helps us to understand how population growth, and the development needed to accommodate that growth, affect our region.

Naturally, these changes may create concern for residents and stakeholders – and we are all residents and stakeholders – who are watching it happen at a rapid pace. We may wonder, and maybe even be a bit skeptical, at how these changes affect the quality of life and quality of place of our communities. Yet over the years, as levels of trust have eroded, decision-makers increasingly find themselves in a difficult position. Being proactive in the face of change requires good project planning. Community consensus is essential to a project’s sustainability. Gaining that consensus requires collaboration and trust among all stakeholders, yet building consensus is no easy task.

The insight2050 breakout session at the Summit helped the audience to navigate the choppy waters of trust in a session titled In Collaboration We Trust. Kicking off the session were Bryan Haviland, President & CEO of FrazierHeiby, and Dr. Orie Kristel, CEO of Illuminology. Bryan and Orie are the lead authors of the first-ever Columbus Trust Study, which provides insights about what it takes for organizations to create trusted relationships with employees, customers and the community. Marie Keister, President & CEO of MurphyEpson and Engage Public Affairs led the audience through effective strategies to build relationships and gain consensus for future projects. The session concluded with a panel discussion with representatives of three Central Ohio communities who have built trust among residents and their elected officials to lay the foundation for sustainable projects. Panelists included Megan Canavan, Director of Communications with the City of Powell discussing Keep Powell Moving; Doug Francis, Director of Communications & Information Technology with the City of Hilliard sharing the #HilliardsHappening social media campaign; and Jacolyn Thiel, Engineer with the City of Upper Arlington highlighting the city’s first Complete Streets project.