Planning for stronger local democracy - Minnesota workshop
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  • The DDC network includes practitioner organizations, operating foundations, and academic researchers Lakewood story? ED joke?
  • This is the challenge – and opportunity – we all face, no matter what kinds of organizations we lead or belong to
  • Sometimes this means action by citizens that is seeded by gov’t with small grants
  • Refer to Using Online Tools guide
  • Then go back two slides to the challenges
  • Show movie here Systems, not just tools
  • Refer to spectrum
  • E-democracy.org work in Frogtown and Cedar-Riverside

Planning for stronger local democracy - Minnesota workshop Planning for stronger local democracy - Minnesota workshop Presentation Transcript

  • Planning for Stronger Local Democracy League of Minnesota Cities Brooklyn Center, MN January 27, 2012
  • The Deliberative Democracy Consortium
  • Slides available at: www.slideshare.net/mattleighninger Guides: http://bit.ly/rWeHaU http://bit.ly/iwjgqn
    • The context:
    • How have citizens* changed?
    • More educated
    • More skeptical – different attitudes toward authority
    • Have less time to spare
    • Use the Internet to learn and connect
    • * “citizens” = residents, people
    • The context:
    • Families with young children
    • Have the most at stake in community success
    • Parents have even more motivation to engage, but even less time, than average resident
    • Want opportunities to engage in community , not just politics
  • Successful recent public engagement tactics
    • Proactive about recruitment
    • Bringing diverse perspectives together
    • Sharing experiences
    • Giving people chance to make up their own minds (deliberative)
    • Different levels of action: volunteers, teams, organizations, policy decisions
    • Increasing use of online tools
  • Successful tactic: Proactive recruitment
    • Map community networks;
    • Involve leaders of those networks;
    • Hold a kickoff meeting;
    • Follow up, follow up, 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, end with action planning.
  • Successful tactic: Framing an issue
    • Provide an agenda or guide that:
    • Begins by asking people to talk about why they care about this issue or question
    • Gives them the information they need, in ways they can absorb and use it
    • Lays out several options or views (including ones you don’t agree with)
    • Ends with questions that get people to plan what they want to do (not just what they want you to do)
  • Successful tactic: Many levels of action
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  •  
  •  
  • Successful tactic: Online tools
    • Complement face-to-face communication, don’t replace it
    • Particularly good for:
      • Providing background information
      • Data gathering by citizens
      • Generating and ranking ideas
      • Helping people visualize options
      • Maintaining connections over time
  • 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
  • In other (fewer) words, the key success factors are:
    • Diverse critical mass
    • Structured
    • Deliberative
    • Action-oriented
    • Online and F2F
  • “ Decatur Next” Decatur, Georgia
    • Large-scale planning efforts in 2000, 2010
    • Initial Organizer: city government and a local nonprofit (Common Focus)
    • Issues: schools, race, growth
    • 450 participants in 2000, 680 in 2010 (city of 17,000)
  •  
  • “ Decatur Roundtables” Decatur, Georgia
    • Outcomes:
    • Decatur Neighborhood Alliance
    • Promotion of tax abatement plan for seniors, other anti-displacement efforts
    • Less tension between different groups
    • New model for land use decisions
    • Extensive citizen input into city’s strategic plan
  • “ Community Chat” Southwest Delray Beach, FL
    • Outcomes:
    • Parent support group
    • Youth basketball team
    • Expansion of “Delray Divas” youth group
    • Westside Neighborhood Presidents’ Council
    • Citizen input to street redevelopment plan
    • “ Maintaining the Village” effort to rehab housing
    • New deregulated public
    • school - the “Village Academy”
  • “ Horizons” Rural communities in seven Northwestern states
    • Initiated by Northwest Area Foundation
    • 284 towns, with poverty rates between 10% and 78%
    • Issues: poverty reduction and economic development
    • 3,000+ participants
  • “ Horizons” Rural communities in seven Northwestern states
    • Outcomes listed in recent evaluation:
    • “ Community gardens and farmer’s markets, parks, trails (one with a $1.2 million grant), and recreational opportunities, community and community resource centers, scholarships for low income children and families for daycare, after school programming and recreation, including Boys and Girls’ clubs, car repair and home maintenance programs, and in (at least) five communities, the establishment of community foundations.”
  • Questions for discussion
    • First, introduce yourselves (if you don’t know one another already). Then, discuss:
    • How effective are your public meetings – who participates? Are officials happy with how they work? Are citizens happy?
    • How effective are the grassroots groups – do they get things done? Do people participate?
    • Are there segments of the community that have typically not been involved?
  • Other research findings about engagement
    • Having a relationship with a person of a different group = greater empathy and understanding
    • People get involved because they want to affect an issue, stay involved because (and only when) they enjoy the experience (both process and outcome)
    • Stronger feelings of belonging to community = increased likelihood that person will stay in that place
    • Stronger feelings of loyalty to community = greater community economic health
  • Successes, limitations of engagement so far Why do it: Make a decision or plan in a reasonable way Get more people working on the issue Build trust Successes: When done well, meets all three goals above Gives new leaders a chance to step forward Challenges: Takes lots of time (especially recruitment) Hard to sustain (not designed to be sustained) May meet goals of ‘engagers,’ but not ‘engaged’ Doesn’t often change the institutions Trust, relationships fade over time
    • Sustain the benefits
    • Allow the ‘engaged’ to set the agenda
    • Better address inequities
    • Increase community attachment and economic growth
    • Increase residents’ sense of legitimacy and “public happiness”
    Why plan for more sustainable kinds of engagement?
    • Need more sustained, holistic forms of engagement - regular, structured, enjoyable opportunities that enable people to:
    • Connect with other people (particularly people who are different from themselves)
    • Feel like they belong to a community that values their voices and contributions
    • Bring their concerns and priorities to the table (they help shape the agenda)
    • Participate in governance (they have a say/hand in decision-making and problem-solving)
  •  
  • Social media is a critical tool for new forms of engagement
    • 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’
  •  
  • Community engagement planners should consider some key building blocks: :
  •  
  • “ 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
  • “ Kuna Alliance for a Cohesive Community Team” Kuna, ID
    • Recurring input-gathering process, used on all major decisions
    • Organized by Kuna Alliance for a Cohesive Team (Kuna ACT), in collaboration with local government
    • Issues include: school funding, downtown development, planning and growth
    • 500 participants annually (city of 6,000)
  • “ Kuna Alliance for a Cohesive Community Team” Kuna, ID
    • Outcomes:
    • New comprehensive plan
    • Passage of school bond issue
    • Improvements made to downtown
    • New strategy to market community as hub for “Birds of Prey” area
  •  
  • Questions for discussion
    • Does your community already have some of these building blocks in place?
    • Are there other building blocks that might be useful?
    • If you were to begin creating a long-term plan for your community, who would you work with?
    • What do you need to help you get started?
  • “ Democracy needs a place to sit down” Communities need places that are:
    • Permanent
    • Not just “open,” but actively welcoming
    • Centered on citizen needs and priorities
    • Powerful
    • Political, social, and cultural
  • Resources
    • www.deliberative-democracy.net
    • www.soulofthecommunity.org
    • www.everydaydemocracy.org
    • www.publicagenda.org
    • www.kettering.org
    • On Facebook: “Deliberative Democracy Consortium” group page
    • The Next Form of Democracy
  • Resources (continued)
    • On YouTube: the DDC channel
    • Using Online Tools to Engage – and Be Engaged by – the Public at http://bit.ly/iwjgqn
    • Planning for Stronger Local Democracy at bit.ly/rWeHaU – and other resources at www.nlc.org