Deep Listening Circles

The Deep Listening Circles process is designed to allow socially-vulnerable individuals to share their stories in a safe, inclusive environment.

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Problems and Purpose

The Deep Listening Circles process was designed by author, placemaker, and public engagement professional Jay Pitter.[1] Deep Learning Circles are "intended to create the comfort required to explore housing and ideas of feeling at home in changing cities." Stories and 'human-centred data' build trust and empathy, making them essential to the co-creation of more inclusive, resilient, and vibrant communities.[2]

Origins and Development

Having spent her career meeting with communities and individuals in precarious housing situations, Ms. Pitter recognized a need for a more people-centred approach to urban planning and development. The shaping of spaces and places needs to be designed for and by the people that live there; to both reflect and embody the personal histories of its residents.[3] Deep Learning Circles fills the need for a process of open, inclusive dialogue between residents and city planners about the lived experience of social vulnerability. 

How it Works

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also


[1] Jay Pitter, "Bio", accessed March 9/2018, 

[2] The Tyee, "A Deeper Housing Conversation," Eventbrite, accessed March 9/2018, 

[3] Sarah-Joyce Battersby, "How Jay Pitter is amplifying Black voices in city-building," Metro News Toronto, accessed March 9/2018, [dead link]

External Links

Jay Pitter's Website:

Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity

Deep Listening and Leadership: An Indigenous Model of Leadership and Community Development in Australia [p. 14] 


Photo Credit: Vanessa Nelson