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Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy

ICDD awarded Kansas Health Foundation grant for Affordable Housing forums

“Community Solutions to Affordable Housing” has received a 2-year Impact Grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.  The project has been undertaken by faculty and students affiliated with health, community planning, and communication, and is managed by the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD), in consultation with the MHK Affordable Housing Community Action Group (AHCAG).

“The cost of housing has profound effects on what people can afford to pay for food, medicine, education, and other critical health factors,” says ICDD Projects Coordinator, Donna Schenck-Hamlin.  “AHCAG and the Healthy Communities Laboratory at K-State have been collecting testimony from concerned residents, but getting the ideas they hear into actual practice needs more public conversation.”

Brandon Irwin, Director of the Healthy Communities Laboratory, and Katie Kingery-Page, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Community Planning, are putting interviews and charrettes (a forum type used by professional planners) together with models of public discussion offered by ICDD.  Building a sequence of public interactions that generate more choices in both public policy and private practice will require engagement by a large cross-section of the Manhattan area population. 

Over two years, a succession of public conversations will document the experiences, ideas, and options for action generated by a diversity of participants.  “No one is immune to the housing cost burden,” according to Schenck-Hamlin, “and it’s complicated enough to need everyone’s experience to overcome. But housing is a local, tangible issue, and something Manhattan can tackle on a scale that other cities might not.  Facilitating those conversations is the life-work of civic discourse.   We’re very excited to see what this community can do together.”