Chapel Hill 2020 Report and Recommendations

The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government has completed “Chapel Hill 2020: An Assessment of Public Participation,” a report that includes results of a summer 2012 survey of participants and a study of the public engagement process used by the Town of Chapel Hill. Read the report here:

Chapel Hill 2020 was the community visioning process that took place from spring 2011 to June 2012 to update the Town’s comprehensive plan. The level of public participation surpassed any other process of its kind in the Chapel Hill community. The outreach and engagement effort strived to be creative, engaging, and open to innovation and exploration. 

Mary Jane Nirdlinger, the Town’s director of policy and strategic initiatives, said that as 2020 moves into implementation, staff will draw on the input and lessons learned to continue to learn and evolve as an organization. About 125 people participated in the survey. Their observations help identify an interest in early and clear understanding of trade-offs, establishing clear links between community input and final products, reporting on progress, and investing in sustained community outreach and participation. 

“I believe the report points out many opportunities for us to capture our good work and take it to the next level,” Nirdlinger said. “If you have ideas for how we can learn from our mistakes and celebrate our successes, I’d love to hear from you!” 

The work of implementing Chapel Hill 2020 continues. To sign up to receive regular updates on Chapel Hill 2020, contact To provide ideas for the project, contact Mary Jane Nirdlinger or 919-968-2739.

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