Engaging Metro Atlanta’s International Community in Regional Planning
In January 2017, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the region’s long-term planning agency, sent an invitation to the region’s international community seeking people who would be interested in participating in a Global Advisory Panel. The panel is part of ARC’s New Voices initiative, which aims to bring new voices into planning for the Atlanta region’s future. We want to ensure that the region’s dynamic, vibrant global community is well-represented in the agency’s regional planning discussions.
Why form a Global Advisory Panel?
The Atlanta region is growing more international and more diverse every year. Consider the following numbers:
- In 1990, the region had just 100,000 foreign-born residents.
- By 2015, the population had grown to 700,000 foreign-born residents, making up 15.57 percent of the region’s population.
- In 2014, the latest year we have data for, immigrants spent an estimated $15 billion in the Atlanta region and paid $5.5 billion in taxes.
The global community is changing the way the region looks and sounds, and it is a significant driver of our economy. This social and economic impact will continue to grow as the foreign-born population becomes an ever more important part of Atlanta’s regional community and its increasingly diverse workforce.
Want to know more? Take a look at the data about metro Atlanta’s global community.
The Purpose of the Global Advisory Panel is to:
In March 2017, 150+ panel members were chosen from throughout the Atlanta region to serve on the panel. Panel members were invited to join a Facebook group where they could begin to get to know each other and share news and events.
These are the countries represented by Global Advisory Panel members:
Global Advisory Panel members had their first meetup in March of 2017. Participants had time to meet and mingle before they were seated in discussion groups to address three questions. Participants moved to a new table with a new group for each question. The discussion questions were intended to start a conversation about building welcoming, inclusive communities. The questions were:
- What does inclusion mean to you?
- Have you ever felt welcomed or unwelcomed by a community? Tell us about one time.
- What is one thing your community can do to make it more welcoming and inclusive in regards to mobility or livability or prosperity?
Responses gathered during the evening were used to determine the topics for upcoming Global Advisory Panel Civic Dinners.
After the first meetup, Global Advisory Panel members were asked to complete ARC’s Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey. This annual survey asks metro Atlantans how they feel about the region they call home. Watch the video to the right to see what regional participants had to say in the 2016 survey, and then view the Global Advisory Panel survey results to see how the responses from the global community compare to the rest of the region.
Civic Dinners are designed to bring people together for food, companionship and conversations that matter. In a group of six – ten guests, civic dinner participants are asked three big questions. As the guests respond to the three questions, they engage in an evening of guided conversation on a topic that they care about. Learn more about Civic Dinners and the art of conversation.
#InclusiveATL Global Advisory Panel Civic Dinners
From June through August, Global Advisory Panel members will host and attend a series of #InclusiveATL civic dinners organized around the topics of Mobility, Livability and Prosperity. The InclusiveATL hashtag will be used to unite social media posts from the dinners around the idea of building a region where everyone feels welcome and included. The purpose of these dinners is to engage a growing community in the panel’s conversations about our region and its future and to record their stories and ideas for ARC. A timeline for the #InclusiveATL dinners is shown above. The first series of dinners will be organized around the topic of mobility.