Public Engagement

Town turns to text messaging to boost community engagement

Andover, Massachusetts, operates under the town meeting system. Amid abysmal meeting attendance, officials turned to SMS to manage its meetings and various initiatives.

Meet Emma, Amarillo’s AI assistant and ‘digital human’

The Texas city’s generative artificial intelligence assistant will assist residents through voice conversations in multiple languages.

Beyond the books: Teens check out mental health resources at libraries

In Hartford, Kentucky, the public library invites teens to weekly sessions to foster positive thinking amid a growing youth mental health crisis.

For effective community research, get the right people at the table

When people with lived experience participate in a research project’s design, data collection and analysis, they can increase engagement, build trust and lay the groundwork for system-level change.

Downtowns need a makeover. Resident, commercial engagement could help.

Cities are finding ways to attract residents and tourists back downtown, building small business support, community spirit and a local identity.

Connect with state & local government leaders

Trust in government, and opportunities to rebuild it

Confidence in state and local government may have been waning in recent years, but there are ways communities can help to bolster their resident’s faith in them.

How tech can democratize community engagement

In contentious city planning meetings, the louder voices in the room often control the narrative, but technology can reframe the conversation and streamline the engagement process.

Michigan to automatically register people to vote when exiting prison

The law signed this week is the first in the nation and expands the state's Department of Corrections’ current effort to restore voting rights to returning citizens.

What does a resilient city look like?

In many cities, resilience is more than climate-ready infrastructure and disaster relief. It’s a tool for building trust in local government, connecting neighbors and uplifting vulnerable communities.

New anti-violence PSA may hit home, but change depends on follow-up and other factors

The US attorney for the District of Maryland recently released a PSA to help stem the tide of violence in the state. But will it work?

Statewide housing programs can be complex. A good website can help.

As Colorado embarks on an aggressive program to build affordable housing, the state is turning to a website to engage and involve residents as the projects unfold.

Nationwide test of Wireless Emergency Alert system could test people’s patience–or help rebuild public trust in the system

COMMENTARY | The Oct. 4 text message is supposed to reach all compatible devices in the U.S. It could shed light on how government agencies can improve their emergency communications.

Should public officials be allowed to block constituents on social media?

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to answer that question as a new term gets underway. The justices will hear two cases on the issue out of California and Michigan in which lower courts ruled differently.

Politicians understand that Taylor Swift fans are a key demographic

COMMENTARY | Taylor Swift could help policymakers to never go out of style. Leaning into social media trends, such as Swift’s long-awaited The Eras Tour, could win the favor of constituents and boost local economies.

As Government Employees Work From Home, People Find Services Curtailed

Everything from pandemic policies to security concerns is causing agencies to reduce in-person services, including licenses and permits.

Can You Lend This Sewer Agency an Ear?

A new podcast from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District seeks to connect with its residents.

Latest Round of Grant Funding Opens for Public Arts Projects

The Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative will offer awards of up to $1 million. Cities with over 30,000 people are eligible to apply.

Striking the Right Balance Engaging With Residents Online

A new survey looks at preferences around giving input to local governments virtually, versus in person. It also finds most people don’t recall ever being asked for feedback.

Creating a Virtual City Hall

COMMENTARY | Doing so can offer residents a digital one-stop shop for interacting with local government, while also improving the experience.

The Three Cs of Effective Public Engagement

COMMENTARY | Incorporating citizen feedback into government budget and finance decisions can often lead to disappointing results, but following these principles can help.