Meet the Planning Team!

By August 22, 2019 July 22nd, 2020 News, News_CompPlan
The Durham Comprehensive Plan process is being coordinated and facilitated by a team led by the Durham City-County Planning Department, supported by two consultants focused on facilitating the community engagement process, Planning NEXT and Irma McClaurin Solutions.


Durham City-County Planning Department staff is leading the overall coordination of the comprehensive plan process. They are collaborating with a variety of people from the City and County to support and coordinate the work of all groups, as well as provide local knowledge and expertise. The planning staff is committed to an equitable engagement process and will use the Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint. This will ensure the community engagement process includes—in a meaningful way—vulnerable communities, hard-to-reach groups and underrepresented voices that haven’t historically been heard as part of City-County planning processes. The City-County Planning Staff have undergone racial equity training through the Racial Equity Institute. The comprehensive planning process will put racial equity at the forefront and prioritize hearing from the most vulnerable communities and underrepresented groups.


Planning NEXT is a consulting practice that helps clients and communities create a shared sense of purpose and place. For over 20 years, the company has built a national reputation for leadership in visioning, planning and facilitation. This work has been recognized with over 10 awards from the American Planning Association in the past 10 years. Planning NEXT’s work is grounded in a deep commitment to inclusive community engagement, including record-setting large-scale community events and a range of innovative techniques for acquiring meaningful insight from the community. The firm puts great thought and emphasis into how to reach underrepresented groups and hard-to-reach people in communities so that engagement process is reflective of the community.

Planning NEXT is currently preparing Montgomery, Alabama’s first long-range plan in 56 years (1963). The city was at the epicenter of racial injustice in 1963. This current effort has much to overcome, including building trust by the primary underrepresented: African Americans. Nine months ago, a major public meeting was held with 500 in attendance. African Americans were represented at numbers that were proportionate the city population (55%) and every one of the 60-plus tables had blacks and whites working together. One of Planning NEXT’s earliest work with meaningful equitable engagement was creating the vision for the future of transportation for the Washington, DC region (7 counties in Maryland and Virginia plus DC). Planning NEXT leadership wanted to ensure equitable participation and created an outreach strategy for some of the most—if not the most—disenfranchised residents living in the region: Anacostia and Congress Heights. Residents crafted communication messages and spread the word. The Federal Highway Administration made the approach into a best practices guide for use by other communities committed to equitable engagement. In addition to Montgomery, this work influences current engagement efforts in places like Flint, Michigan and Mobile, Alabama.

The firm has a proven track record of creating visions and plans rooted in a community’s value and unique character that are implemented over time for long-lasting impact.


Irma McClaurin Solutions (IMS) is a minority, woman-owned business enterprise recently certified as a North Carolina HUB (Historically Underutilized Business). The goal of IMS is to develop strategies and solutions that promote access, authentic community engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Irma McClaurin has provided leadership, mentored, made grants, and written poetry, creative non-fiction, and policies, all informed by social justice.

Her services include speaking and facilitation; promoting authentic community partnerships; advancing diversity strategies; transformational leadership development; board training;  executive coaching; and writing-editorial support.

As an activist anthropologist, strategic thinker, and problem solver she works closely with communities to formulate participatory action research that fits their needs. In 1999, McClaurin drafted the document that became the first National Plan on Family Violence for Belize, Central America. She continues working on gender violence by writing Expert Declarations for people seeking asylum.

McClaurin was selected in 2007 as an Associate VP and the founding Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s first Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center ( UROC opened its doors after only 15 months of intense community engagement, including monthly community affairs meetings and community input into the architectural design. In September, 2009, the renovation of a 21,000sf former derelict shopping center in what was one of Minneapolis’ most underserved areas was complete. UROC is now 10 years old and since opening has attracted new community-based research project and new businesses to the area. The original community-driven process led by McClaurin has received local and national recognition.

Closer to NC, Irma McClaurin Solutions worked closely with the descendants of an historic African American community in Raleigh, now the Friends of Oberlin Village, to successfully gain historic preservation status for Oberlin Cemetery. She continues to provide the group with technical assistance.

She is an award-winning writer, past president of Shaw University, the first Distinguished Mott Chair of Women’s Studies and founder of the Africana Women’s Studies Program at Bennett College, a former Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, and former tenured associate professor of anthropology at both the University of Florida and the University of Minnesota.


Since 1991, Bilingual Communications, Inc., has provided quality services to clients in need of professional English and Spanish translations and interpretation in North Carolina. Bilingual Communications is certified by the North Carolina Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB). The company is a Woman Small Disadvantaged Business Enterprise as defined by the City of Durham’s Ordinance to Promote Equal Business Opportunities. We are a group of native Spanish-speakers, highly experienced and/ or ATA-Accredited Spanish/English translators, editors, and proofreaders with advanced degrees from Mexico and/or Latin America.

Bilingual Communications, Inc., and all individuals associated with our organization commit ourselves to the highest standards of performance, ethical behavior and confidentiality. We commit to translate documents faithfully and accurately, satisfying the client’s needs and delivering a translation that meets or exceeds the quality and accuracy expectations, delivery timetable, and format expected by the client. Our qualified Spanish interpreters are native Spanish speakers and facilitate transparent, accurate and effective communication between English and Spanish speakers.

Jackie Metivier, the founder of Bilingual Communications, Inc., was born, raised and educated in Puebla, Mexico.  She completed her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communi­cations at the Universidad Intercontinental in Mexico City and has lived in North Carolina since 1988. Mrs. Metivier received her certification from the American Translator’s Association (ATA) as a translator from English into Spanish in 1993. She is classified as A1. Master Certified Spanish<>English Court Interpreter for obtaining a score of 80% or higher on all sections of the North Carolina Court Interpreter Certification Examination (NCCICE), and served as President of the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters (CATI) from 2003-2006. For more information, visit: