Civic Engagement Today - Strengths, Limits, Opportunities
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Civic Engagement Today - Strengths, Limits, Opportunities

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Slides on the need to move from temporary, issue-driven public engagement efforts to stronger civic infrastructure

Slides on the need to move from temporary, issue-driven public engagement efforts to stronger civic infrastructure

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  • Sometimes this means action by citizens that is seeded by gov’t with small grants
  • Refer to Using Online Tools guide
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  • Rio Grande do Sol - http://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/node/5998

Civic Engagement Today - Strengths, Limits, Opportunities Civic Engagement Today - Strengths, Limits, Opportunities Presentation Transcript

  • CIVIC ENGAGEMENT TODAY:STRENGTHS, LIMITS, OPPORTUNITIES Matt Leighninger Presentation to the San Diego Foundation January 16, 2013
  • THE DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY CONSORTIUM
  • THE CONTEXT:HOW HAVE CITIZENS* CHANGED?  More educated  More skeptical – different attitudes toward authority  Have less time to spare  Better able to find resources, allies, information * “citizens” = residents, people
  • THE CONTEXT: FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN Have the most at stake in community success More motivation to engage, but even less time Want to engage in community, not just politics
  • THE CONTEXT: INCREASED USE OF THE INTERNET
  • THREE MINUTES AT THE MICROPHONERetrieved from Cincinnati.com, July 27, 2012
  • SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: PROACTIVE RECRUITMENT Map community networks; Involve leaders of those networks; „Who is least likely to participate?‟ Use online as well as f2f connections; Follow up!
  • SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: SMALL-GROUP PROCESSES  No more than 12 people per group;  Facilitator who is impartial (doesn‟t give opinions);  Start with people describing their experiences;  Lay out options;  Help people plan for action.
  • SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: FRAMING AN ISSUE Give people the information they need, in ways they can use it Lays out several options or views (including ones you don‟t agree with) Trust them to make good decisions
  • SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ENCOURAGING CITIZEN ACTION
  • SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ONLINE TOOLSParticularly good for:  Providing background information  Data gathering by citizens  Generating and ranking ideas  Helping people visualize options  Maintaining connections over time
  • QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
  • STRENGTHS OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION Making policy decisions, plans, budgets Catalyzing citizen action Building trust, fostering new leadership Connections = disaster preparedness Attachment = economic vitality
  • LIMITATIONS OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION (AS WE PRACTICE IT TODAY) Lots of work for temporary gain Inefficient – every organization on its own Community moves back to „politics as usual‟ „Engagers‟ set the agenda, not the „engaged‟ Limited impact on equity Laws on participation out of step with practices Not well measured or benchmarked
  • WHAT IS CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE?The regular opportunities, activities,and arenas that allow people toconnect with each other, solveproblems, make decisions, and bepart of a community.
  • “PORTSMOUTH LISTENS”PORTSMOUTH, NH Ongoing process since 2000 Several hundred participants each time Addressed a number of major policy decisions: bullying in schools, school redistricting, city‟s master plan, balancing city budget, whether to build new middle school
  • JANE ADDAMS SCHOOL FOR DEMOCRACYWEST SIDE OF ST. PAUL, MN 50-200 people in “neighborhood learning circles” every month since 1998 Involves recent Hmong, Latino, Somali immigrants Young people involved in circles and other activities Cultural exchanges - food, crafts, storytelling Has resulted in new projects, initiatives, festivals, and change in INS policy
  • PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING IN BRAZILIAN CITIES Commitment from gov‟t to adopt budget; Wide range of ways to be involved; A carnival atmosphere; Started small, now huge – 60,000+ people
  • NEW MODEL ORDINANCE ON PUBLIC PARTICIPATIONAvailable at www.deliberative-democracy.netDeveloped as a collaboration of:
  • BUILDING BLOCKS FOR CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE
  • BUILDING BLOCK:Helpingneighborhood andschool groupsbecome more- effective- inclusive- participatory
  • BUILDING BLOCK: HYPERLOCAL ONLINEFORUMS More sustained Larger, more diverse numbers of people Easier for „engagers‟ – recruitment doesn‟t have to start from scratch More open to ideas from the „engaged‟
  • DIGITAL DIVIDES (PLURAL) Overall, Internet access growing “Access” – to Internet, to government – has never been enough Different people use different hardware Different people go to different places on the Internet Communities just as complex online as off – recruitment must be proactive
  • BUILDING BLOCK: CIVIC INDICATORS 1. Capture more of the basic data 2. Use databases 3. Establish „mid-level‟ indicators to connect basic data with „metadata‟ like Soul of the Community 4. Be transparent – and think about ways to allow people to contribute and analyze data
  • BUILDING BLOCK: YOUTH LEADERSHIP
  • DON‟T FORGET: FUN“Sometimes you need a meeting thatis also a party. Sometimes you needa party that is also a meeting.” ─ Gloria Rubio-Cortès, National Civic League
  • SLIDES AVAILABLE AT:WWW.SLIDESHARE.NET/MATTLEIGHNINGERGUIDES:HTTP://BIT.LY/PSLDNLCHTTP://BIT.LY/IWJGQN
  • RESOURCES www.participedia.net www.deliberative-democracy.net www.soulofthecommunity.org www.everydaydemocracy.org www.publicagenda.org www.kettering.org
  • QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?