Bringing New Voices to the Regional Planning Table

The Atlanta Regional Commission launched Civic Dinners to hear from a diverse cross-section of the Atlanta community and develop a plan that improves quality of life for all.


Design a program to hear from diverse voices across the region regularly.

Educate metro Atlanta residents on the core issues facing the region

Ensure feedback from residents is shared back with ARC planners to use in the regional planning process


Position ARC as the convener for bringing people to the table for conversations around the key issues in Atlanta

Launch ARC Civic Dinners at the State of the Region breakfast, inviting 1400 civic leaders to participate

Design a creative social media campaign to invite diverse voices to the table.


300 Dinners since the region-wide launch in November 2017

2200+ attendees with an estimated 75% having not heard of ARC before attending a civic dinner

3000+ public comments on over 9 different issue topics to help inform planning process

“Great communities and regions don’t happen by accident. Careful planning is needed to ensure that metro Atlanta remains a dynamic, thriving region. Public input is critical to this process. We need to hear from a diverse cross-section of our community to develop a plan that improves quality of life and builds the kind of future we all want.”
— Doug Hooker, Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission



The Atlanta Regional Commission is responsible for regional planning and intergovernmental coordination within the 10-county urban and exurban area of metropolitan Atlanta. Its 39-member board is comprised of city and county elected officials and citizen members. 

The region is one of the fastest-growing in the country with the population expected to top 8 million in the next 20 years. Most growth is occurring in City of Atlanta and the counties and cities immediately surrounding the capital city. 

ARC convenes and leads policymakers on key regional issues that cross jurisdictional boundaries including transportation, natural resources, aging and health, and community development.

In 2016, the ARC finalized The Atlanta Region’s Plan, its long-range blueprint for regional prosperity, forecasting through 2050, through a robust community engagement process. The plan focuses on three core tenets – 1) world-class infrastructure, 2) healthy, livable communities, and 3) a competitive economy. An update to the plan is underway to take into account new challenges and policies that have come to fruition over the past four years. 


ARC has partnered with Civic Dinners on a number of innovative civic-engagement projects since 2015. Residents in the Atlanta region have hosted more than 300 dinners with over 2200 guests resulting in more than 3000 comments to help shape regional policy. 

Civic Dinners has designed conversations on the big policy issues facing the region including Mobility, Livability, Prosperity, Arts & Culture, Affordable Housing, Education and Work, Aging, Sustainability, and many more. 

These conversations serve as a way to help educate the public and make public policy relatable and actionable. Equally important, breaking bread with neighbors and friends builds community and social cohesion at a time when every issue feels like a hot topic.

ARC engaged Civic Dinners in 2015 during the creation of the plan for a novel Millennial engagement program that won numerous awards for creative community engagement, as it was the first time government had used dinners to bring new voices to the table.

ARC engaged Civic Dinners again in 2017 to engage new American communities in a Global Advisory Panel, with 160 delegates representing 35 countries.

ARC launched Civic Dinners region-wide in November 2017 and has continued its partnership with Civic Dinners to gain on-the-ground insights on nearly a dozen policy areas, from mobility, to livability, prosperity, aging, affordable housing, sustainability, and arts and culture. 

Explore the conversations launched with ARC


attend OR HOST a dinner

Live in Atlanta? Interested in co-creating the city you love?

Click below to find some conversations near you!