The new report, "Bright Spots in Community Engagement: Case Studies of U.S. Communities Creating Greater Civic Participation from the Bottom Up" explores community engagement efforts in 14 cities across the country.
Tthree cities each embarked on efforts to reframe the built environment through updates to zoning guidelines. Although each outcome was unique and interesting in its own right, the unifying factor linking all three cities together was the aggressive drive to include residents as citizen planners.
This tool kit, made possible with support from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, is designed to assist officials in strengthening local democracy by cultivating transparency and inclusivity with citizens and key allies with shared responsibilities and mutual accountability for addressing and solving problems.
A growing disconnect between citizens and government – complicated by the challenges of financial strains, demographic changes, diminishing social capital, and increasing demands from citizens – has renewed the need for local leaders to revisit issues of democracy and governance. NLC is contributing to a national effort to strengthen democracy and governance at the local level by involving residents in government and public life and by focusing on developing an inclusive, collaborative, and effective relationship built on trust between citizens and government. Through these relationships, communities can work together to arrive at solutions to pressing problems.
Problems and opportunities often do not respect municipal boundaries. So, local leaders find themselves crossing those boundaries in order to make their city a better place. NLC provides ideas and information to assist city leaders in working with one or several or many other jurisdictions in the area to achieve a goal.
Cities 101 is a public resource developed by the National League of Cities to introduce and explain municipal government in the United States. There are many ways cities are created, and there exists considerable variation in their power and authority.