Still Accelerating

Ron Littlefield, lead analyst for the City Accelerator initiative at the Governing Institute, discusses how several cities in Cohort II of the initiative are “rewriting the rules of public engagement”:

Perhaps I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I have a long and sometimes tortured history with the process of civic engagement. If you have read this far, chances are you know the feeling first hand. But you persevere — because it matters.

In an earlier post, I recalled Chattanooga’s former Mayor Gene Roberts once announcing, after an exhausting city commission meeting, that public officials who failed to live blameless lives would likely be condemned to a purgatory of eternal zoning hearings.

As a city planner and elected official, I have endured more than my share of that particular sort of hell on Earth. I know firsthand how depressing the process of civic engagement can be.

However, nothing is more important in sustaining democracy than an involved citizenry.

Read more at Governing here about various engagement efforts City Accelerator is supporting. Over at our Gov 2.0 Watch, we have featured Eric Gordon’s thoughts on the challenges of incorporating new communications technologies into civic engagement processes, also in connection with City Accelerator.

Contributor: Ben Peterson, Pepperdine School of Public Policy, MPP Candidate ’16


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