Re-Weaving Community, Creating the Future

Storytelling at the Heart and Soul of Healthy Communities

Download the essay as a printable PDF >>

Download the worksheet mentioned in the video >>

Read and comment on the interactive online version >>

This publication, written by storytelling expert Barbara Ganley, is intended to introduce readers to the powerful role that storytelling can play in community planning.

storytelling_workshop_pierres_630x430.jpgWe offer a printable PDF version of this work, but given the unconventional, citizen-driven nature of this approach, we also wanted to offer an interactive online version, where there are links to addiitonal resources and people can interact with the content, question it, challenge it, add to it, and in doing so, create a more valuable resource for those interested in nurturing and sustaining the unique character of their communities in the face of rapid growth and change.

We invite you to discuss each of the chapters with us and contribute to this ongoing experiment in radical civic engagement to “fuel positive, collective action” in communities across the country.

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction, by former Orton President & CEO Bill Roper:

storytellingwhitepaper_screenshot_500x275.jpg“The Orton Family Foundation’s Heart & Soul Community Planning approach calls for nothing less than sweeping change: a bottom-up, across-the-board retooling of planning in cities and towns across America. The singular times we live in demand it. Citizens, increasingly, are calling for it as they reclaim their voice to shape the future of the places they call home...

Storytelling has proved its promise in the Foundation’s Project Communities, where we get dirt under our fingernails working with residents, stakeholders and leaders. From Golden, Colorado to Victor, Idaho; from Damariscotta, Maine to the Borderlands of Rhode Island and Connecticut; from Starksboro, Vermont to Biddeford, Maine, over many years, story has built trust, torn down walls and helped citizens come together behind the values and vision they want to have steer the change in their varied towns...

In this essay, Ganley explores both why story matters in its own right, but also why it matters to a fragmented society and to increasingly fragmented communities. She emphasizes the central importance of reciprocity and the transformative strength of listening, a trait in short supply these days. She models the importance of listening by bringing many voices to her essay; she has examined what scores of colleagues have said and done about telling stories in community.”

When you read Re-Weaving the Community, Creating the Future (interactive online version), discuss each chapter with us (via commenting), share your experiences and ideas, and take part in what Bill Roper calls “a bottom-up, across-the-board retooling of planning in cities and towns across America.”

Watch this Storytelling for Community Planning training video produced by Barbara Ganley for the Foundation’s Heart & Soul Handbook.



Download the essay as a printable PDF >>

Download the video worksheet >>

Read and comment on the interactive online version >>