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Citizen Engagement

Citizens are the only 'disinterested' parties in community planning...how can the voice of the citizen be heard?

In many communities, large and small, ordinary citizens are getting organized to address the challenges from the new realities.
  • participation on boards and commissions
  • citizen civic organizations
  • block clubs, block watch groups

What's the difference between Community Planning, Coordinated Response, and Citizen Engagement?

Community Planning has been the way that 'professionals' each answering to a different demand.

Coordinated Response is a strategy to get the service providers (public and private) to work together, share information, and coordinate responses.  Harder thank it looks!

Citizen Engagement is the glue that breaks down the programmatic and regulatory barriers to effective planning and coordination.  Because citizen organizations don't have a narrow self interest in the outcomes of the planning process, they can be effective advocates for making all the professionals work together for the good of all.

Examples of citizen input
Youngstown goes on line
A new component to the city's website devoted to code enforcement and tracking demolition projects in its neighborhoods is up and running, officials report, noting it’s intended to help the city and residents attack blight early and swiftly.  "If you don't have good neighborhoods, you don't have a city," declared Mayor Chuck Sammarone. "When I became mayor, I said that the city didn't do enough for its neighborhoods. We had to do more."  read more

Newark Freedom School  a community organizing project in Licking County.

NFS on Housing Rights

Fair Housing Boards

Steps you can take
  • attend public meetings, hearings, lectures:  you will find others looking for answers
  • identify the citizen participation opportunities in your community  hint: google "city name" + "citizen"
  • start your own citizen civic organization
    • start where you are at:  a block club, a church group, a community garden, a crime watch
  • get some professional help.  local colleges or universities, social or community service organizations...any organization that can't move out of town has a vested interest i making things better.