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inCommon is the Participatory Governance Blog of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. Here you will find information about the latest resources, studies, programs and discussions about Civic Engagement in California, throughout the nation and around the world. We hope that the case studies and technological innovations discussed here will spark new reflection and conversation regarding both what legitimate civic engagement looks like and why it is important for good governance, particularly at the local level.

New to Civic Engagement? Check out our foundational documents »

Engaging in a Place for Engagement

The City of Campbell, CA is getting ready to build a new civic center – and officials want to know what the community wants this place to be:

“A place for community and civic engagement,” Anderson-Brulé said. “We’ve heard that over and over again. That became a theme at all of the meetings that we had.”

Other things Anderson-Brulé said she and the team heard about were programs, activities, shared use space, technology, safety and security.

The city council had identified seven buildings and services that would stay on site. City hall, police services, the library, museum, museum storage, parking and the Orchard City Green will all be located in the new civic center.

After the workshop, participants discussed what they had noticed was similar in most of the designs. They found that most of the designs had clustered buildings, were organized by purpose (public services, historical and greenscape), included underground parking, and focused on efficient use of space.

You can read more about the charette here.

NCoC Annual Conference

It’s almost that time of year again!  Join Davenport Institute Assistant Director Ashley Trim in Washington, DC on Friday, October 10 for the annual National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) annual conference.

This year, the  Davenport Institute is sponsoring The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) in their premier event to strengthen civic life in America. For 70 years, NCoC’s Annual Conference has been a must attend event for community builders searching for new ways to engage their neighbors and create positive change. Given the current social and political polarization, the need for this Conference couldn’t be greater.

Leaders from the nonprofit, private, open data, and technology sectors will converge at the Conference to share best practices and uncover innovative civic engagement strategies. There will be high-quality Learning Summits, panels, and networking time – all chances to strengthen civic life and take on the issues facing our field.

We hope to see you in DC on October 10 at the 2014 National Conference on Citizenship. Click here to register.

Colorado Citizen’s Initiative Review

We’ve highlighted the Citizen’s Initiative Review idea on this blog before.  Oregon is now being joined by Colorado in implementing this reform:

Ballot measures in Colorado drive some of the state’s largest policy decisions, yet 75% of voters say they often find measures too complicated or confusing to understand. Accurate and unbiased information is not only difficult to come by, it is often obscured by misleading statements and advertisements by both sides of an issue.

Independent research on the CIR here in Oregon found that over half of voters read the CIR’s findings and that two-thirds found the information useful when voting.

You can read more about the Colorado CIR here.

Preparing Engaged Citizens

The City of Beaverton, Oregon, recognizes how challenging it can be for residents to know how to engage with their city.  Through the Beaverton Organizing and Leadership Development (BOLD) program, the city is reaching out especially to residents from diverse ethnic backgrounds to encourage knowledgeable engagement:

According to city documents, one in three Beaverton residents identifies as a person of color. The goal of the program is to connect the city with ethnic communities and encourage active citizenship.

The BOLD program is a series of workshops about civic engagement, government, Beaverton communities and leadership. This year’s BOLD graduating class is the first under the city’s current three-year program agreement with the Center for Intercultural Organizing.

You can find out more about the content and success of this program here.