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Public Participation / Civic Engagement

Here are all of the resources in this category that NCDD recommends most highly. Too many choices? Narrow your results

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A Community Builder's Tool Kit: 15 Tools for Creating Healthy, Productive Interracial/Multicultural Communities Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Anti-Racism Initiative of the Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change, 2001.

This primer for revitalizing democracy from the ground up can be downloaded for free or ordered for $1.50 per copy.

Resource Link: http://www.race-democracy.org

A Practical Guide to Consensus Highly Recommended

Chris Carlson and Jim Arthur. Policy Consensus Institute.

This 75-page step-by-step handbook walks readers through the stages of sponsoring, organizing, and participating in a public policy consensus process. Designed primarily for government agencies or departments, the guide also is useful for any other sponsor of - or participant in - a consensus building process.

Resource Link: http://www.policyconsensus.org

A Summary of Citizen Participation Methods for the Waterfront Development Project in Oconto, Wisconsin Highly Recommended

Kevin Silveira, Ron Shaffer and Chris Behr, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension.

The City of Oconto and the National Coastal Resources Institute sought to evaluate and integrate information on the economic and environmental impacts of waterfront development. A significant dimension of that effort was to go beyond the technical dimension of those decisions, and address the equally important local perceptions and concerns regarding the waterfront. This review of various techniques for gathering citizen input and encouraging involvement was originally prepared as background to the project team to help them involve Oconto residents in the decisions regarding the waterfront. The authors recommend that you use the document as a starting, not ending, point for building a citizen involvement strategy.

Resource Link: http://www.aae.wisc.edu/cced/931.pdf

Animating Democracy Initiative Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, fosters arts and cultural activity that encourages and enhances civic engagement and dialogue. It is based on the premise that democracy is animated when an informed public is engaged in the issues affecting people's daily lives. Launched in fall 1999, ADI is a four-year programmatic initiative of Americans for the Arts which fosters artistic activity that encourages civic dialogue on important contemporary issues.

Resource Link: http://www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy

Animating Democracy: The Artistic Imagination as a Force in Civic Dialogue Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, Cheryl Yuen and Pam Korza, Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts, 1999.

This report reveals pivotal and innovating roles that the arts can play in the renewal of civic dialogue as well as challenges faced by arts and cultural organizations as they engage in this work.

Resource Link: http://www.artsusa.org/animatingdemocracy

Ascentum Highly Recommended

Ascentum is a Canada-based professional services firm that combines a unique technology expertise with specialized management consulting services. Dialogue Circles is Ascentum's intermodal approach to consultation that aims to maximize the synergies between the traditional and online worlds of consultation and dialogue. Dialogue Circles provides clients with the flexibility to hold online or traditional consultation and dialogue. According to Ascentum, many of the most successful consultation and dialogue endeavors now involve a mix of online tools and traditional face-to-face approaches that complement one another.

Resource Link: http://www.ascentum.ca

At The Table Highly Recommended

Connect with others, share information, and help build the worldwide movement for youth participation at this online clearinghouse featuring everything you need to know about effectively involving youth in your organization and community. Hosted by the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development.

Resource Link: http://www.AtTheTable.org

Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Collaborative Agreement-Seeking Processes Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (now the Association for Conflict Resolution), 1997.

The recommendations in this report were developed through a joint effort of the SPIDR Environmental/Public Disputes Sector and the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Atlanta, Georgia, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This report focuses on best practices for government agencies and other users in the U.S. and Canada, reflecting the membership of the SPIDR Environmental/Public Disputes Sector. While potentially applicable to other countries, the recommendations will likely need to be tailored to the political frameworks, institutions and cultural norms in those societies.

Resource Link: http://acrnet.org/acrlibrary/more.php?id=13_0_1_0_M

Better Together Highly Recommended

Better Together is the final report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, an initiative of Professor Robert D. Putnam at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The project focuses on expanding what we know about our levels of trust and community engagement and on developing strategies and efforts to increase this engagement. A signature effort has been a multi-year dialogue held on how we can increasingly build bonds of civic trust among Americans and their communities.

Resource Link: http://www.BetterTogether.org

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Robert D. Putnam. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors and our democratic structures - and how we may reconnect. Putnam warns that our stock of social capital - the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. But America has civicly reinvented itself before, and can do it again.

Resource Link: http://www.bowlingalone.com

Brisbane Declaration on Community Engagement Highly Recommended

The Brisbane Declaration drew on numerous definitions and aspirations for community engagement, including IAP2's core values and the Queensland Government's community engagement resources. A draft of the Declaration was reviewed and revised to reflect the feedback from the community of practitioners, academics, policy advisers, government and citizens who responded to a questionnaire. Importantly, there were also a number of deliberative sessions on the Declaration held during the 2005 International Conference on Engaging Communities. Feedback from these sessions was incorporated into the final version of the Declaration.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/brisbane_declaration.pdf

Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

John P Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD). Evanston, IL: The Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, 1993.

This book includes a step-by-step description of asset-based community development, a strengths-based approach for identifying and building upon the human resources that are already present in any community.

Resource Link: http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/abcd.html

Building Deliberative Communities Highly Recommended

Michael Briand. Pew Partnership for Civic Change, 1995.

A 36-page booklet introduces the reader to the role deliberation can play in creating new opportunities for communities to work together in more productive ways. The report draws on statistical and educational research to support the thesis that deliberative discussions can help a community learn its own strengths and weaknesses and can help bolster its confidence in its ability to change itself for the better. Using a Community Convention (a contemporary version of the New England town meeting) as a vehicle, the report explores the possibility of achieving a representative voice from all community segments.

Building Democratic Governance: Tools and Structures for Engaging Citizens Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

National League of Cities, 2005.

As the role of local officials in reforming public involvement increases, the National League of Cities (NLC) believes there is a need to assist them as they choose how to get citizens involved and at what level of engagement. This 84-page report from NLC's CityFutures Program provides principles, suggestions, and ideas for local elected leadership on citizen involvement.

Resource Link: http://www.nlc.org/ASSETS/6B83BE044C544D4AA963D48B884434FF/demgov.pdf

Canadian Policy Research Networks Highly Recommended

CPRN creates knowledge and leads public debate on social and economic issues important to the well-being of Canadians. The birth of CPRN's Public Involvement Network (PIN) in 2002 reflects the growing conviction in policy circles that effective public policy requires effective public engagement.

Resource Link: http://www.cprn.ca

Center for Collaborative Policy Highly Recommended

The Center is a joint program of California State University, Sacramento and the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. The mission of the Center is to build the capacity of public agencies, stakeholder groups, and the public to use collaborative strategies to improve policy outcomes. The Center produces a quarterly newsletter called The Collaborative Edge.

Resource Link: http://www.csus.edu/ccp/

Changing the Way We Govern: Building Democratic Governance in your Community Highly Recommended

National League of Cities, 2006.

Drawing on case studies of successful projects, this guide: explains how to educate, involve, and mobilize citizens in a variety of events and initiatives; describes how communities have used democratic governance approaches to address key issues; builds on city strategies for accomplishing key tasks using shorter-term mechanisms; and describes some of the more permanent, structural forms of democratic governance that have emerged recently. Changing the Way We Govern is an essential tool for anyone who is tired of the conflict and apathy created by old-fashioned citizen involvement methods and who wants to tap into the full potential of citizens and public life.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/NLC-ChangingTheWay.pdf

Charrettes Highly Recommended

Charrettes are typically a potent combination of modern design studio and town meeting, with a dash of the teamwork from an old-fashioned barnraising mixed in. Most start with a hands-on session for citizens and continue in an around-the-clock, energetic push until a plan is finished about a week later. A charrette can be a breakthrough event that helps overcome inertia and creates a meaningful master plan. Properly executed, this technique can produce a master plan that is more useful, better understood, and more quickly produced than one formed by other methods.

Resource Link: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/pittd/charrett.htm

Choices for the 21st Century Program Highly Recommended

The Choices Program at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies offers deliberation-focused supplemental curriculum units for U.S. History, World History and Global Studies. Choices units feature historical background, a role play centered on alternative policies, primary source materials, detailed lesson plans and study guides. Units are affordable.

Resource Link: http://www.choices.edu

CitizenPost Highly Recommended

In the summer of 2006, the Case Foundation published Cynthia Gibson's groundbreaking paper "Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement." The publication generated much discussion and debate, and this blog was created to allow the conversation to continue. Focused on all things "citizen-centered" (a term which includes not only citizens, but also those who aspire to be citizens, including immigrants), the blog attempts to dig down into how we can make civic engagement, civic discourse, political involvement, volunteering, and other good practices part and parcel of everyday life rather than something people do in their spare time or occasionally.

Resource Link: http://www.citizenpost.blogspot.com

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