Creative Planning Makes our Communities Vibrant Healthy Places - Think Again Brooklyns Print E-mail


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Cities 2040 Comprehensive Plans


Building Strong Communities that Serve All Residents' Needs



Tuesday, October 17

6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet and Social               6:30 p.m. - Program



Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers

5200 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN


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Cities 2040 Comprehensive Plans provide an opportunity to plan for communities that meet the needs of all residents in our cities and suburbs and develop a sense of place in our neighborhoods. At our our October Think Again Brooklyns forum, Denise Engen from Hennepin County will give us an introduction to planning, and two leaders in our immigrant communities, Sebastian Rivera from Asamblea and Ekta Prakash from CAPI, will provide examples of how their organizations are strenthening immigrant communities. Then you will get a chance to explore how to create vibrant healthy places in your neighborhood.


 Denise Engen, Hennepin County Community Works

Healthy Community Planning and 2040 Comprehensive Plans


denise engen

 Our health starts in the places where we live, learn, work and play – and the way we plan and design our communities plays a big role in our physical, emotional and financial health. Local planning is increasingly recognized as tool to strategically increase health and to reduce health disparities, which are differences in health that stem from the built and social environment. Planning and designing communities with health in mind can lead to improved community health, wellness, and quality of life for all residents. This thinking was put into action locally when a major effort was made to integrate health into planning for the areas around light rail transit stations on the extension of the METRO Blue Line (Bottineau) LRT. Denise Engen, from Hennepin County Community Works, will help us explore the links between community health and community planning – and the benefits of planning and designing communities with health in mind, specifically through the local comprehensive plan.


 sebastian riveraSebastian Rivera, La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles Community Organizer

Health Risks of a Latino Immigrant


Sebastian Rivera is a Community organizer for Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, a Latino faith based nonprofit organization, that has been organizing, empowering, and engaging immigrant and nonimmigrant communities in the northwest suburbs for the past two years. Asamblea focuses on issues of displacement, immigrant discrimination, and tenant abuse throughout the area, and works closely with community members, fellow nonprofits and elected officials to address those issues and to create a healthier and more proactive community.



Ekta Prakash, CAPI USA Executive Director

Immigrant Communities Focus on Healthy Planning


ekta prakashEkta Prakash is committed to empowering the community by utilizing a service model that promotes social justice and gender equity. Through this model, her goal is to incorporate under represented communities’ political influence and civic engagement into CAPI programs. Her past experience includes participating in two fellowship programs: the National Gender Equity Campaign through Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) and the Leadership and Advocacy Institute to Advance MN’s Parity for Priority Populations.


Ekta led CAPI's agency-wide organizational transformation that has resulted in increased financial efficiencies, stability, infrastructure improvements, and leadership development. Her efforts have led to recognitions to her organization including the Home Grown Hero award for growing community gardens in the Minneapolis and the NW suburbs, and the Act of Kindness award for expansion and bringing fresh produce to the NW suburbs.  Ekta holds a MA in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics, and a Masters in Nonprofit and Public Administration from Metropolitan State University.



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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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