Citizen Engagement is Vital Even for Smart Cities

As technology continues to grow and cities shift towards being “smart”, there are some learning opportunities for the ways in which cities go about acquiring data, the ways in which it is used, and the need to still genuinely engage the community. Which is why we wanted to share this piece written by Mary Leong of NCDD member org, PlaceSpeak, about the need for cities to be mindful of the ways in which technology is used when gathering insight on citizens and utilizing the information during city decision-making. She emphasizes the need to use a”citizen-first engagement approach” (as outlined by Meeting of the Minds) and engage the community to get real citizen feedback before implementing these smart city practices. You can find the article below and read the original version on the PlaceSpeak blog here.


No, Your City Can’t be “Smart” Without Citizen Engagement

In a recent piece from our friends at Meeting of the Minds, 4 Strategies to Fix Citizen Engagement, they asked several important questions: “Can a City really be described as ‘Smart’ if it makes changes without consulting with a diverse sample of the citizens affected by these changes before, during, and after projects are implemented? Will citizens adopt Smart Initiatives if they aren’t part of the decision-making process?”

As cities struggle to establish themselves as “smart”, they have rushed to implement IoT (Internet of Things) sensor networks which help to gain insight into the movements and habits of citizens. Sensors are gathering vast amounts of information about how citizens are engaging with their transportation needs, energy use and more – often without their explicit consent. A recent article in the Atlantic asks facetiously, “Why trouble to ask the ‘citizens’ what they want from urban life, when you can accurately surveil the real actions of city’s ‘users’ and decode what they’re actually doing, as opposed to what they vaguely claim they might want to do?”

While it is well-documented that social desirability bias or recall bias can lead respondents to provide inaccurate or false information in surveys or polls, exclusively relying on passive data – as opposed to proactive data collected through robust citizen engagement processes – only tells half the story. The challenge is twofold:

Firstly, it is crucial that smart cities do not become surveillance cities. Out of 52 agencies in the United States which use facial recognition, “only one…expressly prohibits its officers from using face recognition to track individuals engaging in political, religious, or other protected free speech,” found a report from Georgetown Law. Recent revelations from the ACLU also revealed that companies such as Amazon are actively marketing facial recognition technology to governments as an “easy and accurate” way to investigate and monitor “people of interest” – including undocumented immigrants, Black Lives Matter activists, or citizens exercising their right to protest. This unprecedented ability to surveil without accountability should be concerning to anyone with an interest in civic participation.

Secondly, the implementation of smart city technologies should incorporate citizen feedback and concerns. People are justifiably concerned about privacy issues – particularly individuals from groups or communities which may be disproportionately targeted. Furthermore, people are often unable to opt out, which can be a cause for concern for some. Just like with any large-scale initiative or project, it’s a lot harder to deal with the fallout from citizens after the decisions have been made – especially when large amounts of money have already been spent on infrastructure or technologies. In order to truly realize the potential of a “smart city”, decision-makers must include citizens in the decision to implement smart city solutions. By including the public in co-creating (“build with, not for”) and deciding on solutions that are appropriate for each community, they can be tailored to local unique challenges and needs.

The solutions highlighted in Meeting of the Minds call for a “citizen-first engagement approach”, with four factors:

  • Utilize mobile
  • Remove the burden for citizens
  • Consider offering rewards
  • Go beyond survey responses

We agree that these factors are necessary for invigorating smart cities everywhere and inspiring people to participate – while challenging decision-makers to go above and beyond. Instead of one-off online surveys or public meetings, online civic networks notify and keep people engaged on an ongoing basis. In contrast to social networks, where people are empowered to connect with like-minded individuals all across the world, civic networks are tied to place-based communities, such as streets, neighborhoods, schools, stratas/homeowner associations and more. By creating a central “hub” for citizens to engage continually with decision-makers and fellow community members, PlaceSpeak makes online democratic participation easy, convenient and habit-forming.

You can find the original version of this article on PlaceSpeak blog at www.blog.placespeak.com/your-city-cant-be-smart-without-citizen-engagement/.

Improving Employee Engagement and Morale with PB

One of the best ways to both empower people to be more engaged and improve the level of trust in democratic practices is participatory budgeting (PB), and it works in sectors across the board. Another successful example of PB is when it is implemented within business, as NCDD member org, the Participatory Budgeting Project, recently shared on their blog. We encourage you to read more on how PB was utilized in the company, Justworks, and the powerful results that followed. You can read the original version of this article below and on PBP’s site here.


Participatory Budgeting for Businesses: It Justworks

Last April, Isaac Oates was leaving his local library when a stranger asked him to vote. At first he politely declined, but when the volunteer said it was about the budget and would just take a minute, Isaac took a ballot, and learned about participatory budgeting (PB).

Six months later, Oates was leading a PB vote for his business’s budget. Standing in front of a company-wide all-hands meeting, he invited Justworks’ 300 employees to decide how to spend $250,000. The end result was a powerful team-building experience, which led to greater staff understanding and a better workplace.

Justworks is an HR platform that helps employers run their business by simplifying and supporting payroll, benefits, HR, and compliance. After rapid growth forced its employees to overflow into multiple offices, Justworks decided to move to a larger office on the far west side of Manhattan, 15 minutes from mass transit. To compensate for the worse commute, Oates, the company’s founder and CEO, committed an additional $250,000 to make Justworks a better place to work. And he asked employees to decide how to spend it.

Over a couple months last fall, Justworks held brainstorming sessions with facilitators, where dozens of employees identified initial ideas. Staff teams developed these ideas into proposals, and then sent a survey on the top proposals to all staff, to give feedback and prioritize which proposals should go to a vote.

Based on this feedback, Justworks narrowed down the list to six finalists. The staff teams prepared budgets and final proposals for each project, and then presented them to hundreds of staff at the all-hands meeting.

Each presenter delivered a tightly rehearsed pitch, with slides and a few jokes on the side. (Why vote for healthier snacks? “You’ve all had times where you go to grab a snack at 4pm and all that’s left are some bags of Hot Cheetos.”)

After a few vigorous rounds of questions, Oates thanked the project champions. “That was the most fun I’ve had in awhile!”

All staff then had a day to vote online, by casting up to three votes per person. 226 staff voted – 75% turnout!

The top four projects received enough votes to win funding: enhanced healthier snacks, a calm zen space for relaxing at the office, new office decor and art, and more comfortable office chairs. Justworks donated the remaining funds to a local soup kitchen.

Oates was impressed with the results of this new approach to employee engagement. “People learned about the budget. I always expect them to understand it, but they don’t really have the chance.”

During a challenging transition for Justworks, PB showed employees that the company was listening to their needs and investing in their priorities.

And at a difficult time for our democracy, Justworks also showed how PB can inspire a new wave of civic power. Over 100,000 people voted last year in PBNYC, learning first hand a better way to decide together. Oates was one of many who took this experience to heart, launching PB in his own community. Are you next?

You can find the original version of the article on the Participatory Budgeting Project’s site at www.participatorybudgeting.org/participatory-budgeting-for-businesses-it-justworks/.

Participedia.net Hosts Democratic Learning Webinar Series

NCDD is excited to share one of our partner organizations, Participedia.net has recently announced their first ever webinar series on Democratic Teaching and Learning starting in June. This free four-part series is open to anyone and will be a great opportunity to connect with Participedia researchers and collaborators around participatory democracy. We are proud to see many folks from the NCDD network collaborating on the sessions and we encourage you to register at the link below! Read the webinar schedule in the post and find the original on Participedia.net’s site here.


Democratic Teaching and Learning: A Webinar Series

Participedia proudly presents its first webinar series on Democratic Teaching and Learning, developed by Co-Chairs of our Teaching, Training and Mentoring Committee, Drs. Joanna Ashworth & Bettina von Lieres! Open to anyone interested in the field, this four-part webinar series will connect Participedia researchers and collaborators with shared interests in teaching methods, theories, and cases that support democratic participation. Join us and our rotating panel of experts for a lively exchange of knowledge about challenges and successes in the evolving field of participatory democratic innovations.

Schedule:

Session One – 8 am Pacific Time June 6, 2018
Participedia.net Teaching and Learning from Cases

Graham Smith (Westminster University) and Tina Nabatchi, (Syracuse University)
Moderator: Bettina von Lieres (University of Toronto).

  • What and How Do We Teach Using Participedia.net? Questions, Cases, and Opportunities?

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SESSION 1

Session Two – 8 am Pacific Time September 26, 2018
Understanding the Practice of Democratic Pedagogy

Tim Shaffer  (Kansas State University), Bettina von Lieres (University of Toronto).
Moderator: Joanna Ashworth (Simon Fraser University)

  • What is Democratic Pedagogy? Schools of Thought and Practice in Canada, US, UK and Beyond

Session Three – 8 am Pacific Time October 31, 2018
TITLE TBC What Works: Coaching and Mentoring Professionals in the Uses and Research of Public Participation.

Matt Leighninger (Public Agenda) and Julien Landry (Coady International Institute).
Moderator: Joanna Ashworth

  • Insights into working with seasoned and mid-career professionals from the public sector, NGOs and more.

Session Four – 8 am Pacific Time November 28, 2018
The Global Context of Participation

Lawrence Piper, (University of the Western Cape), John Gaventa (Institute of Development Studies) and Archon Fung (Harvard Kennedy School; Co-Founder Participedia).
Moderator: Bettina Von Lieres (University of Toronto).

  • How context shapes the teaching of democratic pedagogies: Reflections on Politics, conflict and power in South Africa, the Philippines and Beyond

Save the Date:
RSVP on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/participedianet-17316087019
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Participedia/events/

You can find the original version of this announcement on Participedia.net’s site at www.participedia.net/en/news/2018/05/21/democratic-teaching-and-learning-webinar-series.

Join NCDD at Frontiers of Democracy Conference 2018

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming 2018 Frontiers of Democracy conference is happening at Tufts University from Thursday, June 21st until Saturday, June 23rd! The annual Frontiers of Democracy brings together leaders working on deliberative democracy, civic engagement and civic education, to explore how to further advance democracy. NCDD’s Managing Director Courtney Breese will be presenting a session on Friday, June 22rd during on the 2nd session block from 2:30pm-4pm on “Partnering to Strengthen Participatory Democracy: How Might We Connect and Collaborate?”. We encourage you to read the announcement below and find the original on the Tisch College website here.


Frontiers of Democracy Conference

Frontiers of Democracy is an annual conference hosted by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University since 2009. The 2018 conference will take place from June 21 (5:00 p.m.) until June 23 (1:00 p.m.) at Tufts University’s downtown Boston campus in Chinatown.

Partners for the conference in 2018 include the Bridge Alliance, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, the National Conference on Citizenship, and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

You can now register and pay to hold a spot. Please note that speakers and session organizers must purchase tickets.

Frontiers of Democracy immediately follows the Summer Institute of Civic Studies, a selective 2-week seminar for scholars, practitioners, and advanced graduate students.

Frontiers 2018 Theme

According to Freedom House, democracy has been in retreat worldwide for 12 years. Many people are pushing back, including activists and organizers who are nonviolently struggling, using tactics like strikes, boycotts, and mass demonstrations against entrenched power. Other individuals and groups take different approaches, some seeking a greater degree of neutrality and emphasizing deliberative dialogue, particularly when they work within institutions such as schools, public agencies, and newspapers. This year, Frontiers will bring people from these communities of scholarship and practice together to ask how they can learn from and complement each another.

You can read the full agenda for the 2018 conference by clicking here.

Looking Back: Frontiers 2017

Thanks to everyone who joined us at an exciting, thought-provoking, and timely Frontiers of Democracy 2017. You can watch the video of this year’s introduction, “short take” speakers, and one of our afternoon plenaries, below. (You can click on each video’s title to watch on YouTube and, in the description, find timestamps that allow you to skip to a specific speaker’s presentation.)

Frontiers 2017 was focused on multiple frameworks for civic and democratic work developed respectively by Caesar McDowell of the Interaction Institute for Social Change and MIT, Archon Fung of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tisch College’s Peter Levine. Our short take speakers included Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, the senior minister of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, Missouri; Wendy Willis of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the National Policy Consensus Center; and Hardy Merriman, President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

In addition, the Journal of Public Deliberation, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, and The Democracy Imperative held a pre-conference symposium on “Deliberative Democracy in an Era of Rising Authoritarianism.”

Check out the preconference symposium’s agenda and readings and the full Frontiers 2017 schedule.

You can find the original version of this announcement on Tisch College’s site at https://tischcollege.tufts.edu/research/civic-studies/frontiers-democracy-conference.

Exciting Models of Democracy in Engaged Cities Awardees

This week, Cities of Service announced the three winners of the Engaged Cities Awards, given to the cities of Santiago de Cali, Bologna, and Tulsa. As NCDD member org Public Agenda noted in their recent piece, each of these cities offer inspiring examples of civic engagement and better models of local democracy. Sometimes democracy in the US can feel in a rut, but these cities give us innovative ways to bring better democratic practices to our own communities and more fully enrich our lives. You can read the article from PA below and find the original version here.


For Better Models of Democracy, Look to the Engaged Cities of Cali and Bologna

Both Santiago de Cali, in Colombia, and Bologna, Italy, demonstrate the power of putting citizens at the center of governance, giving them opportunities to engage that are meaningful, enjoyable, regular, and sustained.

The main problem with American democracy is that we don’t realize it can be improved. We assume that we’re stuck with the system we have, and we ignore the fact that there are other varieties of democracy already out there in the world.

Two of the three winners of the Engaged Cities Award, given by the nonprofit organization Cities of Service, illustrate some of the possibilities. Both Santiago de Cali, in Colombia, and Bologna, Italy, demonstrate the power of putting citizens at the center of governance, giving them opportunities to engage that are meaningful, enjoyable, regular, and sustained.

Not too long ago, Cali was a city plagued by violence spilling over from drug wars and civil wars. It had a homicide rate of 15 per 100,000 inhabitants. Almost a third of the population came from places other than Cali, and there were regular conflicts between people from different places and cultures. Over 60 percent of Cali residents said they didn’t trust their neighbors.

To remedy an interrelated set of problems, Cali created a comprehensive system for local engagement. As part of a strategic planning process, they created a department and council devoted to “civic culture.” They conducted a comprehensive research process, reaching 30,000 people, to take stock of the civic landscape and find out what kinds of changes people supported.

The backbone of the new system is a set of “local councils for civic culture and peace,” with one in each of Cali’s 22 neighborhoods. Unlike most neighborhood councils in the US, these councils are highly participatory and deliberative, and attract large numbers of people to their meetings and events. Each neighborhood develops a set of norms and “agreements of coexistence” to govern how they will work together. There is an explicit focus on engaging people of different “ethnic, cultural, artistic, religious and social groups.”

The councils make decisions on issues ranging from land use to waste management to environmental concerns. Neighborhoods also identify initiatives that they want to take on. The city supports these high-impact volunteering efforts with teams of professionals who help people plan, research and implement their ideas. Over 300 of those initiatives took place in the last year.

Each year, the work culminates with “Civic Culture Week,” a festival that attracts thousands of people.

The city developed a tool to measure progress called the “Diagnosis of Civic Culture.” Cali residents’ trust in their neighbors and perceptions of public safety have risen. Homicides and violent incidents are at their lowest levels in a decade.

In Bologna, a declining voter rate and increasing mistrust of government were signs of local civic decay. Rather than focusing solely on voter registration or electoral reforms, community leaders decided to be proactive about improving the relationship between residents and public institutions. The city adopted a “regulation on public collaboration between citizens and the City for the care and regeneration of urban commons” and created a new office for “civic imagination.”

To give this new vocabulary a real presence in the city, Bologna has a system of six District Labs which provide spaces for residents to develop plans, share information, make new connections and co-design collaborative projects for the improvement of the city’s physical infrastructure. The labs are considered the “antennae” of the neighborhoods, relaying ideas and concerns within the new engagement system.

In the last five years, 508 collaborative proposals have been developed and 357 have been implemented, with over 1,700 citizens participating in district meetings in the last year alone. The spinoff “Incredibol!” initiative, which called for the support of creative industries by allowing the re-use of public spaces to develop entrepreneurial projects, received 621 proposals, nominated 96 winners and assigned sixteen public spaces.

Alongside the district labs, Bologna has launched a citywide participatory budgeting process that also has engaged thousands of people. The city also uses a range of online tools, including direct emails, social media and a “Comunità” website to facilitate information-sharing and networking within and across districts.

A secret to the success of both Cali and Bologna is that, in those cities, engagement is fun. The Cali system capitalizes on the “recovery of streets and parks, murals, photographic exhibitions, soccer tournaments, gastronomic shows and festivals.” Bologna’s application for the Engaged Cities Award featured the roles played by artists, kindergarteners and cyclists.

Beyond the fun factor, local democracy in Cali and Bologna seems more vibrant because engagement in both cities is sustained and systemic, with a wide variety of opportunities for people to participate.

The third winner of the Engaged Cities Award, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, demonstrates another way to encourage and capitalize on citizen engagement. By creating a team of Urban Data Pioneers, they tapped the tech skills of people inside and outside City Hall. Through a range of new tools and apps, they are identifying and solving problems ranging from traffic incidents to blight.

A great virtue of the Engaged Cities Award, and the role played by Cities of Service in organizing it, is that it provides stories from near and far for spurring our civic imagination. If we are dissatisfied with the state of our democracy, there are inspiring examples to look to elsewhere, and many ways of improving public decision-making, problem-solving and community-building.

You can find the original version of this blog post from Public Agenda at www.publicagenda.org/blogs/for-better-models-of-democracy-look-to-the-engaged-cities-of-cali-and-bologna.

Sign Up for the Local Civic Challenge Starting in June!

Are you looking to dig deeper into local democracy in your community? We encourage you to sign up for the Local Civic Challenge with NCDD sponsoring org, The Jefferson Center! Starting in June, they will email you every week with a mini-challenge for you to learn more about your community, engaging in your local democracy, and strengthening those civic muscles. Read all about the challenge in the post below and on the JC site here.


Join the Local Civic Challenge!

At long last, the leaves are turning green and the temperatures are rising in Minnesota, signaling that spring has finally sprung. Our team is excited to break out of hibernation, and bring what we’ve learned from our recent projects directly to you! If you’ve ever had an interest in getting more involved in local democracy, but haven’t been clear on where to start, this is the perfect opportunity to dive in.

This June, we’re launching the Local Civic Challenge, where we’ll deliver a weekly newsletter to your inbox filled with mini-challenges that will help you become a more engaged citizen. Here are the four themes:

1. Getting familiar with your town

Do you know if you have a strong or weak mayor system? What about where you should go if you want to share your thoughts on how the local government is working? Learning more about the ins and outs of your community helps people feel empowered to make a difference on local issues.

2. Joining local offices, committees, and boards

Groups like the local school board or neighborhood councils are often in need of volunteer members and leaders. Perhaps even local elected office is in your future?

3. Participating in elections, from campaigns to the voting booth

Maintaining the integrity of our elections is vital to our democracy: why not get more engaged with the process? We’ll provide advice on how to find your voting ward and precinct, register, volunteer at the polls, and more.

4. Supporting local journalism and storytelling

Journalism sometimes ends up on the back burner when we talk about getting involved in our community. But sharing our stories, experiences, and thoughts with one another is a key way we can better understand each other, making it easier to tackle community projects together.

We hope these weekly challenges will give everyone an easy way to stretch out their civic muscles and dip their toes into democracy! If you’re in, sign up here.

You can find the original article on The Jefferson Center’s site at www.jefferson-center.org/join-the-local-civic-challenge/.

ILG TIERS Learning Lab Training in San Diego, June 5 & 6

For those in the NCDD network working in local government and looking to improve public engagement skills, check out this great training coming up from NCDD member org Institute for Local Government (ILG). ILG is offering their two-day TIERS Learning Lab training on Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 in San Diego, CA. This is a great opportunity for staff and elected officials working in local government to better engage and sustain their public engagement efforts, and early bird registration ends May 15th. You can read the announcement from ILG below or find the original version here.


TIERS Public Engagement Learning Lab – June 5th & 6th, San Diego CA

Upcoming Learning Labs & Registration
San Diego, June 5-6, 2018 (Early Bird Registration ends May 15)
TIERS Public Engagement Learning Lab San Diego 2018

For registration please email publicengagement@ca-ilg.org or call (916) 658-8221.

Learning Lab Overview
The TIERS Learning Lab is a comprehensive training and coaching program from ILG that provides local government teams of 2-5 individuals with hands-on instruction and coaching on the TIERS Framework. By participating in the TIERS Learning Lab, staff and electeds will learn how to utilize, customize and implement the TIERS tools and processes. The TIERS Learning Lab will help you build and manage successful public engagement in order to support local government work, stakeholder input and project success.

TIERS Learning Lab Components
The TIERS Learning Lab consists of training and support over a six month period for an agency team of up to five people. This six-month hands-on coaching opportunity includes:

  • A pretraining consultation with ILG to discuss your goals, plans and challenges; and to select your Learning Lab public engagement case
  • Immersive two-day Learning Lab: hands-on, participatory in-person training with expert coaches and peer learning
  • Post-training customized implementation coaching (up to 6 hours)
  • Monthly ’Open Lab’ for problem solving during the three months post training
  • Training workshop materials and meals
  • Scheduling and coordination of consulting calls for pre and post training

Learning Lab Tuition Options
Option 1: Team Pricing

  • 3-5 Participants
  • Two-day immersive off-site workshop (w/meals)
  • Customized project/region consulting
  • Pre and post training planning and evaluation
  • TIERS materials, templates & online tools
  • 3 months of lab hours for monthly check-ins and coaching

Early Bird Discount Rate* $3,500 per team

Option 2: Individual Pricing

  • 1-2 Participants
  • Two-day immersive off-site workshop (w/meals)
  • Customized project/region consulting
  • Pre and post training planning and evaluation
  • TIERS materials, templates & online tools
  • 3 months of lab hours for monthly check-ins and coaching

Early Bird Discount Rate* $995 per person

*Price increases by 20% after May 15 for TIERS Learning Lab in San Diego on June 5-6.

“The TIERS training was incredibly motivating for our team and we were able to immediately put what we learned about the TIERS process to work on our current projects. We left with best practices and a clear process we can follow”
– Mayor Gurrola, City of Arvin

You can find the original information of this training on ILG’s site at: www.ca-ilg.org/TIERSLearningLab.

Become a Sponsor of NCDD 2018 Today!

NCDD is working hard on putting together our 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation this November 2-4 in Denver. It’s shaping up to be a phenomenal conference, and like all of our events, NCDD 2018 will be a great opportunity to gain recognition while supporting the field by becoming a conference sponsor!

Looking to heighten the profile of your organization and work in the field? Being a sponsor is a great way to do it! NCDD conferences regularly bring together over 400 of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada (plus practitioners from around the world), and being a sponsor can help your organization can reach them all.

Being an All-Star Sponsor ($10,000+), Collaborator ($5,000+), Co-Sponsor ($3,000), Partner ($2,000), or Supporter ($1,000) will earn you name recognition with potential clients, provide months of PR, and build respect and good will for your organization every time we proudly acknowledge your support as we promote the conference. Plus you’ll be providing the crucial support that NCDD relies on to make our national conferences so spectacular, including making it possible for us to offer more scholarships to the amazing young people and other deserving folks in our field. You can learn more about the details in our sponsorship document.

The earlier you commit to being an NCDD 2018 sponsor, the more exposure you earn as we begin to roll out our sponsor logos on our website. But the benefits go way beyond that – just look at all the perks you get for being a sponsor!

This year, we are also offering some additional opportunities to sponsor, including sponsoring our Friday Showcase Reception, and purchasing ads in our conference guidebook. All of these options are outlined in our sponsorship doc, and if you have other ideas, we’re happy to discuss them!

By supporting an NCDD conference, our sponsors are demonstrating leadership in D&D, showing commitment to public engagement and innovative community problem solving, and making a name for themselves among the established leaders and emerging leaders in our rapidly growing field. We expect to have between 400 and 450 attendees at NCDD 2018, and all of them will hear about our sponsors’ work!

When you sign on as a sponsor or partner of NCDD 2018, you’ll be joining an amazing group of peers you can be proud to associate with. To give you an idea, check out the list of 2016 sponsors or the spread of our sponsors and partners for our 2014 national conference:

SponsorLogosAsOf9-7-14

Interested in joining their ranks and sponsoring the 2018 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation? We encourage you to consider investing in yourself, in NCDD, and in the field by becoming a sponsor today! We would deeply appreciate your support – plus you get so many benefits.

Learn more about sponsor benefits and requirements here, or send an email to sandy@ncdd.org to let us know you are interested in supporting this important convening through sponsorship. And thank you for considering supporting the conference in this critical way!

Watch A Public Voice 2018 Live Stream on May 9th

Coming up this Wednesday, May 9th, is the annual A Public Voice event, hosted by NCDD member orgs – the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute. APV 2018 will bring the outcomes of this year’s forums on immigration to policymakers and their staffers on the Hill. We encourage you to watch the event, which will be live streamed on Facebook Live from 9:30-11:30am Eastern. Learn more about A Public Voice 2018 here.


Watch a Livestream – A Public Voice 2018

May 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Eastern Time
National Press Club, Washington, DC

On May 9, 2018, the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) will host A Public Voice 2018 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. A panel will discuss outcomes from early forums on the issue of immigration reform. A more complete report later in the year will draw from forums that will be held throughout the coming months.

The A Public Voice 2018 event will also feature discussions about the potential of creating future discussion materials about divisiveness in public life.

The 9:30-11:30 a.m., Eastern Time, panel discussion will be live streamed on Facebook, where viewers will be welcome to post their comments.

Gary Paul, a National Issues Forums Institute director and professor at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, will moderate the exchange among members of a roundtable that will include:

  • John Doble, Kettering Foundation senior associate and contributing editor of the Coming to America issue guide
  • Jean Johnson, National Issues Forums Institute vice president for moderator development and communications and contributor to the Coming to America report
  • Alberto Olivas, executive director, Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service, Arizona State University
  • Virginia York, National Issues Forums moderator, Panama City, Florida
  • Oliver Schwab, chief of staff, Rep. David S. Schweickert
  • Mischa Thompson, senior policy advisor, US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Adam Hunter, former director, immigration and the states project, Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Betsy Wright Hawkings, program director, governance initiative, Democracy Fund

The event will be live streamed via Facebook Live. We want to hear from you about topics, such as how difficult it can be to talk across divides in this country; what those divides look like in your communities; and how you think elected officials could help citizens bridge these divides. Your comments will be part of the live event in DC.

Join the Facebook event to receive updates on when and how to participate.

Learn more about A Public Voice 2018 at www.apublicvoice.org/.
This announcement is from NIFI’s email newsletter which you can sign up for at www.nifi.org/en/user/register.

2018 Brown Medal Awarded to Public Mapping Project

In case you missed it, NCDD member the McCourtney Institute for Democracy recently announced the Public Mapping Project as the winner of the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal. The Public Mapping Project created the open-source software program, District Builder that allows participants to re-draw their congressional maps and has been implemented in Pennsylvania. You can learn more in the article below and find the original on McCourtney Institute’s site here.


Public Mapping Project Wins 2018 Brown Democracy Medal

As conversations about how to stop partisan gerrymandering continue around the country, the work being done by this year’s Brown Democracy Medal winner could not be more timely or more relevant.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy will award the 2018 Brown Democracy Medal to the Public Mapping Project, an initiative led by Micah Altman, director of research and head of the program on information science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Michael McDonald, associate professor of political science at the University of Florida.

The Public Mapping Project has developed District Builder, an open-source software redistricting application designed to give the public transparent, accessible and easy-to-use online mapping tools. The goal is for all citizens to have access to the same information that legislators use when drawing congressional maps — and use that data to create maps of their own.

“The technological innovation of online redistricting software and especially open-source system provided ordinary people unprecedented access to the tools and data to create legal districts,” Altman and McDonald wrote in their award-winning submission. “This enables what might otherwise be a static quantification of representation to be embedded in a living, democratic, transparent and participative process.”

McCourtney Institute Director Michael Berkman said the Public Mapping Project plays an important role in helping Americans understand redistricting and advocate for a fairer process moving forward.

“This transparency and involvement is the type of democratic engagement and innovation the Brown medal was designed to recognize,” Berkman said.

Draw the Lines PA, a nonpartisan organization that aims to “fix the bug in the operating system of democracy” in Pennsylvania, is using District Builder in its outreach efforts across the state. David Thornburgh of Draw the Lines PA explained how the Public Mapping project has impacted the organization.

“We are using District Builder as a critical building block for this effort. It gives Pennsylvanians in schools, colleges, community groups, faith congregations, and retirement communities the chance to make their voices heard,” Thornburgh wrote in a reference letter. “District Builder and Draw the Lines give the power of data and technology to the real bosses of democracy: current and future voters.”

The McCourtney Institute awards the Brown Democracy Medal annually to honor the best work being done to advance democracy in the United States and internationally. As part of the award, Altman and McDonald will present a public lecture at University Park this November and record an episode of the Institute’s Democracy Works podcast.

The award is named for Larry and Lynne Brown. Lynne Brown graduated from Penn State in 1972 with a degree in education. Larry Brown is a 1971 history graduate and currently chairs the McCourtney Institute’s Board of Visitors.

For more information about the Public Mapping Project, visit publicmapping.org.

You can find the original version of this article on McCourtney’s site at http://sociology.la.psu.edu/DIINST/news-events/public-mapping-project-wins-2018-brown-democracy-medal.