Across the country, community engagement bright spots are emerging. Communities are experimenting with new ways to engage citizens in the decisions made by civic leaders from the public, private and non-profit sectors, and are finding that success at making democracy work and sustaining healthy communities requires engaged individuals, organizations and institutions.
The National League of Cities, working with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, selected 14 communities to explore how their experiments with a variety of community engagement efforts are faring in the new report, Bright Spots in Community Engagement: Case Studies of U.S. Communities Creating Greater Civic Participation from the Bottom Up. The report focuses more closely on four communities - Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago and Austin - to document the lessons learned and the challenges ahead. These examples highlight bold new pockets of energy emerging in different sectors that challenge conventional standards of practice, and demonstrate the use of new tools and strategies to engage people in building community and solving problems.