Steve Zikman

Document Type



In the last half century, South Pasadena has fought many land use related battles-from efforts to stop the extension of the 710 freeway (710) through the heart of the city, to the recent ballot measure (Measure SP) that sought to overturn the City Council's approval of the new Downtown Revitalization Plan. The pattern of engagement continues to be one of "us versus them," with locals assuming extremely polarized positions, escalating the level of mistrust and demonization, and further dividing the city's civic and social fabric. Mediators are typically called in to help stakeholders resolve specific land use conflicts. However, there is increasing interest in addressing these issues early on-before the parties are in full crisis mode-through a series of facilitated dialogues aimed at exploring ways for communities to improve how they engage with each other outside the context of any one specific issue or project. A carefully constructed dialogue can be, and often is, the first important step toward further deliberation and other action.