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Otis White's Civic Strategies newsletter reports on a Los Angeles-based real estate developer, Rick Caruso, who is finding that the most effective way to get big development projects done is to work with neighborhood and community groups on plans and designs from the very beginning rather than shutting them out of the process:

"...Caruso's secret seems to be working with the neighbors in the earlydesign stages and not walking through the door with renderings inhand. This approach works not only in California but in citiesaround the country. Recently, a developer wanted to build a 40-storydowntown condo tower in St. Paul, Minn., where people are sensitiveabout high-rise buildings overwhelming the city. The company metwith neighborhood groups more than a dozen times and ran through 24 different designs before coming up with one that satisfied theneighbors and make sense financially...."

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