6 Tips to Lead Urban Projects with Meeting Facilitation

6 Tips to Lead Urban Projects with Meeting Facilitation

Every great building starts with a strong foundation, and the same goes for urban projects. Beneath the shimmering skyscrapers, beneath the lush parks, and the bustling streets, lies the true foundation of any urban project’s success: effective meeting facilitation. 

When done right, meeting facilitation is the catalyst that turns a mere idea into a concrete reality, the bridge that connects professionals of diverse fields, and the grease that keeps the wheels of progress moving smoothly. While it might get the spotlight infrequently, mastering the art of meeting facilitation is a game changer for those involved in urban projects.

1. Clarity of Purpose and Agenda

To set the stage for an efficient meeting, clarity is crucial. A well-structured meeting begins long before the actual gathering. This is where meeting facilitation comes into play. A great facilitator establishes the purpose and agenda of the meeting in advance, ensuring everyone knows what to expect. 

This means participants come prepared, focused, and primed to contribute productively. No more wandering off-topic or dragging through unnecessary points. With a clear agenda, every minute of the meeting becomes valuable, keeping everyone on track and engaged.

2. Active Participation and Equal Voice

In a room full of experts and professionals, every opinion counts. But not everyone finds it easy to voice their thoughts, especially in a setting where louder voices often dominate. Effective meeting facilitation ensures that everyone gets a fair chance to express themselves. A facilitator encourages participation, asks open-ended questions, and creates an environment where every member feels safe and valued. This not only promotes a diversity of ideas but also ensures that all perspectives are taken into account, which is essential for the success of urban projects.

3. Efficient Decision-Making and Conflict Resolution

Every project, no matter how meticulously planned, faces its share of challenges and disagreements. This is especially true for urban projects, where multiple stakeholders are involved. The role of meeting facilitation is pivotal here. A competent facilitator navigates these tricky waters with ease, ensuring decisions are made promptly and conflicts are resolved amicably. They employ techniques that foster understanding, find common ground, and drive the meeting toward a consensus. This efficiency reduces the risk of project delays and keeps the momentum going.

4. Keeping Everyone Informed and Accountable

Urban projects have lots of moving parts. So, information can easily get lost. But, we need transparency and accountability. With good meeting facilitation, we set up clear communication. We then share meeting summaries, action items, and follow-ups.

This way, everyone knows their role. They understand the next steps and main goals. By keeping everyone informed, a facilitator makes tasks clear. This means projects from urban designers stay on track.

5. Adapting to Changing Dynamics

Urban projects, by their very nature, evolve. As they progress, new challenges arise, plans change, and teams must adapt. Effective meeting facilitation is about more than just following a script; it’s about being flexible and responsive to the changing dynamics of the project. 

A skilled facilitator is adept at reading the room, adjusting the flow of the meeting as needed, and ensuring that even when plans change, the meeting remains productive. Their ability to pivot and adapt keeps discussions relevant and ensures that the team remains aligned with the project’s evolving objectives.

6. Building and Maintaining Team Cohesion

While urban projects are often the result of combined technical expertise, the human element cannot be ignored. Building and maintaining a cohesive team is integral for long-term success. Through effective meeting facilitation, a sense of unity and shared purpose is nurtured. 

Facilitators create an environment where team members respect, trust, and value one another. They employ team-building exercises, foster open communication, and celebrate milestones, no matter how small. This camaraderie not only improves the work atmosphere but also boosts overall project efficiency and quality.


Urban projects are intricate, multifaceted endeavors. They bring together diverse professionals, each contributing their unique expertise to create something larger than themselves. At the heart of these collaborations lies the unsung hero: effective meeting facilitation.

It is the silent force that ensures clarity, promotes active participation, drives efficient decision-making, keeps everyone informed, adapts to changing dynamics, and builds a cohesive team. When wielded correctly, meeting facilitation is the tool that can elevate an urban project from being good to exceptional. 

As professionals in the urban development sector, recognizing and honing this skill is not just beneficial; it’s essential. As projects grow in scale and complexity, so will the need for adept facilitators. So, the next time you’re about to embark on an urban project, remember that while bricks and mortar might build cities, effective meeting facilitation builds success.

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About Phil Myrick

Phil Myrick is an advisor to planning and development projects around the world and former CEO of Project for Public Spaces. Phil applies research into how people interact with their environments and each other to create vibrant places, destinations, districts, and developments. His strategic advice has helped his clients achieve their goals of attracting people, engaging people in their community, strengthening connections and social fabric, and stimulating economic development. Phil is married with two teenagers and struggles to satisfy his passion for being outdoors or on the water. https://philmyrick.com

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