NYC civic engagement thought leaders forum


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Slides for a presentation to New York City civic leaders on ways of strengthening local democracy at the neighborhood and city level.

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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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  • NYC civic engagement thought leaders forum

    1. 1. New York City Civic EngagementThought Leaders ForumNew York City Fund for Public Advocacy New York, NY November 27, 2012
    2. 2. Which engagement strategies have youpersonally experienced in New York City?a. Large town hall meetings with community residentsb. Smaller meetings with government and community leadersc. Issue-based task forces with government, community leaders and residentsd. Online/social media community-based interactions
    3. 3. Describe your personal experiences with civic engagement in New York Citya. Frustratingb. Upliftingc. Productived. All of the above
    4. 4. How strongly do you believe that civic engagement strategies can positively impacteconomic and social issues in New York City? a. Low b. Medium c. High
    5. 5. The Deliberative Democracy Consortium
    6. 6. Slides available Guides:
    7. 7. 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
    8. 8. 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
    9. 9. The context: Increased use of the Internet
    10. 10. Three minutes at the microphoneRetrieved from, July 27, 2012
    11. 11. “What drove me to try planned, structured public engagement was my awful experience withunplanned, unstructured public engagement.” ─ John Nalbandian, former mayor, Lawrence, KS
    12. 12. 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!
    13. 13. 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.
    14. 14. 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
    15. 15. Successful tactic: Many levels of action
    16. 16. 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
    17. 17. Questions or comments?
    18. 18. In other (fewer) words, the key success factors are: Diverse critical mass Structured Deliberative Action-oriented Online and f2f
    19. 19. Strengths of quality public engagementGood for: Making policy decisions, plans Catalyzing citizen action Building trust Fostering new leadership
    20. 20. 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
    21. 21. What is civic infrastructure?The regularopportunities, activities, and arenasthat allow people to connect witheach other, solve problems, makedecisions, and be part of acommunity.
    22. 22. What is your vision for civic infrastructure?
    23. 23. New model ordinance on public participationAvailable at www.deliberative-democracy.netDeveloped as a collaboration of:
    24. 24. Building blocks for civic infrastructure:
    25. 25. Building block:Helpingneighborhood andschool groupsbecome more- effective- inclusive- participatory
    26. 26. 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‟
    27. 27. 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
    28. 28. Building block: Youth leadership
    29. 29. Don’t forget: Fun “Sometimes you need ameeting that is also a party.Sometimes you need a party that is also a meeting.” ─ Gloria Rubio-Cortès, National Civic League
    30. 30. Questions or comments?
    31. 31. “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
    32. 32. 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
    33. 33. 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
    34. 34. “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)
    35. 35. “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
    36. 36. Building civic infrastructure: Is relatively inexpensive (mainly political, not financial capital) Is a cross-sector job (not just government) Has other economic benefits
    37. 37. Resources••••••• On Facebook: “Deliberative Democracy Consortium” group page• The Next Form of Democracy
    38. 38. Slides available Guides:
    39. 39. 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”