PORTSMOUTH LISTENS invites YOU to contribute to the discussion:
How can housing –
linked to every aspect of our community –
make Portsmouth the best place
to live, work and play for everyone?

Sign-up to participate

Where we live (the location of our home as well as its design) has a direct impact on our quality of life. It determines where our kids go to school, who our neighbors are, how we get to our jobs and more.
On the other hand, if it is too small or too big, or if it costs too much to pay for, or if it is not all on one floor and we are in a wheelchair, or if we do not drive and where we live is not walkable to anywhere or close to transportation, it might make life challenging.

In September and October 2017, Portsmouth Listens will host facilitated, small group dialogs round this topic. There will be two phases, with important dates in between:

Phase One: Information-gathering from common-interest groups.

While everyone has a unique viewpoint about housing needs (whether their own or those of others), some “groups” have common viewpoints: people who wish to downsize, Millennials on their own, young families, service-industry workers and more.

During the first two weeks of September, there will be 8-10 “common-interest group” discussions, each lasting about two hours. Times and locations vary according to the group.
If you wish to join one of these discussions, please check back here for times, locations and who to contact. (There is no cost to join but calling ahead is best for planning purposes.)

  • The arts community:
  • Seniors:
  • Service industry:
  • Young professionals
  • Business owners
  • Developers and funders
  • more

Each of these groups will discuss:

  • What is your current living situation and how does it affect your quality of life?
  • What about going forward – what do you anticipate your needs and expectations to be regarding where you live?
  • Do you see any obstacles to meeting these needs?

Information gathered during these times will be compiled info a summary report for use in Phase Two. All participants comments and views will be confidential.


Phase Two: Open to anyone who lives and/or works in Portsmouth.

September 13: 5:00 – 8:00 PM. Housing Expo at 3S. This is optional but attendance is highly encouraged to learn more about housing on the Seacoast (from policies to different designs and location of places to live) the challenges and what is possible. There is no charge to attend but registration is encouraged. Go here for more info and to register.

Starting at the beginning of October, groups will convene for about two hours once a week (times and locations according to the group) for three or four weeks. Guided by a facilitator, each group will explore:

  • What is our community vision for quality of life in Portsmouth?
  • How does and can “housing” contribute to that?
  • What challenges are there to achieving this?
  • Will the proposed zoning changes (in the ordinance currently with the Planning Board and City Council) help achieve the vision?
  • What other suggestions/proposals does the group have (related to where homes are located and how they are designed) to achieve the vision?

Each group will write a report that will be shared with other groups, with the City Council and published in the Portsmouth Herald.

Portsmouth Listens dialogs kick-off

October 6th: 7:00 – 9:00 PM – Levinson Room, Portsmouth Public Library.  Doors open at 6:30, program to start promptly at 7.  Housing 101 overview, Phase 1 reports (“common interest” groups), review of Phase 2  Dialogs program and schedule, group assignments.

  • Week of October 9:  Phase 2 groups Session 1
  • Week of October 16:  Phase 2 groups Session 2
  • Week of October 23:  Phase 2 groups meet with City Councilors and candidates, Planning Board and Planning Department members
  • Week of October 30:  Phase 2 groups Session 4
  • Week of November 13:  written reports due and report-outs