Davenport Institute Research and Studies
Legitimate civic engagement goes far beyond public relations and information campaigns. However, effective decisions certainly require knowledge on the part of both governments and residents. The Davenport Institute seeks to equip local representatives, staff and residents to work together to develop innovative solutions to local questions. Research and publications are an important part of this process. In the resources below, you will find studies undertaken by the Davenport Institute as well as resources from other organizations involved in questions of civic engagement.
In addition you will find California-policy specific research conducted by Davenport Institute Fellows and School of Public Policy Faculty. These studies are designed to help residents of California make informed decisions on the local issues that affect their everyday lives.
Please explore the material published here and feel free to contact us with questions.
Public Engagement in California
One of the greatest obstacles to public engagement and collaboration is the "fear factor." While both local government officials and civic leaders desire better engagement and affirm that public involvement can help solve some key problems, public officials fear low-turnout and processes hijacked by the "usual subjects," while community leaders and the public fear that their participation won't make a real impact on decision-making.
These were some of the findings in two comprehensive, statewide surveys – "Testing the Waters", a survey of local officials, and "Beyond Business as Usual", a survey of community based organization leaders - undertaken by Public Agenda, in partnership with the Institute for Local Government and the Davenport Institute and commissioned by the James Irvine Foundation.
Read more about this here
- This is the full report of a survey of 900 California local officials. The survey was undertaken between July 10 and August 23, 2012 and sought the perspective of elected and appointed officials on opportunities for and obstacles to public engagement in California. View the executive summary.
- This is the full report of a survey of 462 leaders of community-based organizations across California. The survey was undertaken between July 10 and August 23, 2012 and sought the perspective of civic leaders on opportunities for and obstacles to public engagement in California. View the executive summary.
- Here is a helpful infographic that provides a summary of the findings from both studies, including areas of common ground that may provide the basis for stronger civic engagement in California.
- Learn about the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (EmpowerLA) is leading the exploratory process of establishing an Office of Civic Engagement.
- City of Hayward: Tennyson Corridor Planning
- City of Riverside: Our Riverside, Our Neighborhood
- San Francisco Municipal Transportation Association
- Western Riverside Council of Governments: Climate Action Plan
- City of Vallejo: Participatory Budgeting After Bankruptcy
- Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District
- City of Bell Goal Setting - Short Story
- City of Bell Goal Setting - Longer Story
- Emory Police Department Implements Changes to Increase Community Engagement
Attitudes toward Public Engagement
- Testing the Waters: California's Local Officials Experiment with New Ways to Engage the Public
- Beyond Business as Usual: Leaders of California's Civic Organizations Seek New Ways to Engage the Public in Local Governance
- School of Social Work Partners with University Police for Training Focused on Trauma-informed Practices
- Reno's Small Business District Launches, a Community Self-Care Initiative Tool Kit for Business Owners
- 21-Day Equity Challenge Brings Community Together for Shared Equity, Inclusion Education
Engagement at the State Level
Civic Health | In collaboration with National Conference on Citizenship
- Infographic: Civic Life in California
- Fact Sheet: Civic Health in California
- Golden Governance: Building Effective Public Engagement in California (also in partnership with the Center for Individual and Institutional Renewal and California Forward.)
- California Civic Health Index 2010 in collaboration with California Forward and the Center for Civic Education
- America in One Room: Stanford Center for Deliberative Democracy
America in One Room was a national experiment in deliberation by the public about the major issues facing the country. It brought a state-of-the-art scientific sample of 523 registered voters from around the country to Dallas for civil discussion over a long weekend. The briefing booklet for the event contained background analysis and competing arguments for and against different policy proposals on five issues: the economy, health care, the environment, immigration, and foreign policy.
Other Policy Research
- An Analysis in Split Roll Property Tax Issues and Impacts
Steven Frates and Michael Shires
- Public Engagement Spectrum Snapshot: Consult
- Public Engagement Spectrum Snapshot: Incorporate