Community members are invited to a workshop to learn more about a program focused on crime prevention, community engagement and planning in the City of Howell.

The free event will be held Monday from 5 to 8pm in the Meabon room at the Howell Carnegie District Library and is open to the public. The workshop will expand on the “Designing Great Neighborhoods” program, which helps identify areas in the community that residents enjoy, but also potential areas where improvement is needed to increase safety through environmental design. It’s a partnership between the City, the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction (MSU SPDC), the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the MSU Extension Office in Washtenaw County.

Extension Educator Harmony Gmazel says the ultimate goal of the project is to get community members involved in the design of their neighborhoods by creating and preserving great places in Howell. She adds Monday’s workshop will be a gathering of ideas and teamwork across all sectors of the City. The goal for attendees is to come up with great ideas that the MSU team will use to create policies that the City could consider for adoption as part of next year’s Master Plan update.

The workshop session kicks off with Crime Hotspot Mapping and Sharing and an introduction to the “Safe Neighborhoods” project, followed by a presentation on how to design the City to prevent crime and create great places. The session will then take a look at designing neighborhoods with interactive roundtable maps. The evening will close by kicking off training for the City-wide neighborhood photo-storytelling project.

The “Community Photovoice Challenge” encourages residents to take photographs of their favorite areas as well as characteristics of areas that might be a deterrent to safety and wellbeing. The photos will serve as a visual tool for things residents have attachment to or might want to improve in neighborhoods. An event in January will teach the professional and amateur photographers how to tell their photo voice story; culminating in a public showcase in April where participants can present their photos and talk to policymakers about the stories that the pictures tell. Policy recommendations will ultimately be made at the completion of the Designing Great Neighborhoods program.

Details about the workshop and program can be found at the attachments and link below. (DK)