A new research report is available providing insights into how public engagement initiatives can grow into a regular practice involving people from many different parts of a community and spanning multiple issues. This report argues that the most successful of civic engagement efforts are those that address not only particular public issues such as school redistricting, domestic violence, or racism, but also improve the quality of local democratic governance. The report features concrete examples of sustained community-led dialogue and problem solving efforts that draw upon different approaches to public deliberation.
Read Sustaining Public Engagement: Embedded Deliberation in Local Communities produced in collaboration by Everyday Democracy and the Kettering Foundation.
Here's an interesting blog entry on how President Obama has been doing in his first six months in the area of public involvement from the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation:
On his first day in office, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to leaders of executive departments and government agencies calling for a new era of transparency and open government. In the memo, Obama asserted “we will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” and called for an Open Government Directive “that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum” on transparency, public participation, and collaboration.
Read about what happened after President Obama issued the Open Government directive here.
The promise and challenge of neighborhood democracy
At the end of 2008, Portland participated in a gathering of many cities that have experimented with creative ways to engage citizens in public decision-making and problem solving.
Read what was learned here!
Hot off the presses, this new report analyses public participation in Europe. What can we learn? The central point cited in the report is:
"The development of public participation in Europe is held back by the absence of evaluation that asks the really important questions. It is not clear how well participation processes are working, and too many reports fail to show how to make them better. In this report the European Institute for Public Participation argues that well-directed evaluation of public participation can make it more effective and ensure it makes its intended contribution to democratic life."
Read the full report here.
Deliberative Democracy: Building Public Will for Action on Critical Problems
Friday May 29, 2009
1 pm to 5 pm, 5-7 pm Reception
White Stag Building, 70 NW Couch St. Portland, Oregon
What are the strategies and tactics for strengthening public discourse? How can deliberative processes be used as a vehicle for building public understanding of critical problems and develop commitment to long term policy solutions. This forum will share the findings from some of the leading applied researchers and practitioners with the goal of improving public discourse.
Open to the public. Registration required by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flyer here: http://www.portlandonline.com/oni/index.cfm?a=244655&c=29385