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, informatio n * “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
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: Online toolsParticularly good for: Providing background information Data gathering by citizens Generating and ranking ideas Helping people visualize options Maintaining connections over time
In other (fewer) words, the key success factors are: Diverse critical mass Structured Deliberative Action-oriented Online and f2f
This work challenges the thinking of:Progressives Conservatives Experts don‟t make Electeds don‟t make all decisions all decisions Forces gov‟t to be Raises perceptions of more accountable gov‟t Gov‟t not enough to Free market not solve problems enough
Strengths of quality public engagementGood for: Making policy decisions, plans Catalyzing citizen action Building trust Fostering new leadership
Limitations of quality public engagement (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 Trust, relationships fade Laws on participation out of step with practices
New model ordinance on public participationAvailable at www.deliberative-democracy.netDeveloped as a collaboration of:
What is civic infrastructure?The regularopportunities, activities, and arenasthat allow people to connect witheach other, solve problems, makedecisions, and be part of acommunity.
Building block:Helpingneighborhood andschool groupsbecome more- effective- inclusive- participatory
Building block: Hyperlocal online forums 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‟
“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 Democracy West 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 a 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
“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, IDOutcomes: New comprehensive plan Passage of school bond issue Improvements made to downtown New strategy to market community as hub for “Birds of Prey” area
Building civic infrastructure: Is relatively inexpensive (mainly political, not financial capital) Is a cross-sector job (not just government) Has other economic benefits
Resources• www.participedia.net• 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
Slides available at:www.slideshare.net/mattleighninger Guides: http://bit.ly/M1pvMp http://bit.ly/iwjgqn
Why build stronger civic infrastructure?1. Make engagement easier, more efficient2. Build trust3. Give residents more control of the agenda4. Better address inequities5. Increase community attachment and economic growth6. Increase residents‟ sense of legitimacy and “public happiness”