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Public Engagement Forum
Public Engagement Forum

Ask questions, share articles, and give feedback on all things public engagement here. 

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In a small town I've found that a citizen advisory board that helps with strategic planning and only meets 2-4 times a year can be helpful, mainly to "try" out members that can be then moved to official boards (zoning, planning, sewer, parks, etc.). It increases public engagement, and you get to see how they act in a meeting, and if they show up.

Another thing I've done is to do an analysis of where all the members of our various boards live. I organized by voting precinct and then have started trying to recruit from areas that have no... (More)

Hi Brenda! Great question—one we hear often from Strong Towns members inspired to take action in their communities. I'm curious: What kind of involvement would you like to see from your community? As I've learned from members like @Genevieve Barber36 and @Jordan Deffenbaugh25, depending on your goals, you don't need to wait for the whole community to share your goal; instead, find a few neighbors who care about their place and share your goal. For inspiration, you may enjoy these stories from Genevieve and Jordan: 

Look forward to learning more about you and your goals, Brenda! 

I agree with previous posters about “official boards.” They seem to devolve into patronage delivery vehicles and frustrate the participants that want to get work done.  Many also prevent members from discussing topics with each other due to government sunshine rules. 

on the other hand UNofficial citizen boards that have the ear of one or more administrators and politicians can produce amazing work. 

Speaking from my small city, they can have numerous problems if they are not used correctly. My city council creates them but gives them little direction and rarely any time frame so nothing happens.
The city manager suggested creating one for municipal trash services which are currently done by several private companies, hired by the property owners. One council member said there was no need for a citizen committee as the city council was elected to represent the public.
A permanent committee was created to address parking issues. Their recommendations were all rejected by the City Council and the committee... (More)