It’s time to save the date for the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation! We’re excited to announce that our next national conference will take place in the DC area October 17-19, 2014.
Check out the little “save the date” video I created this morning…
Thank you to all 92 of you who provided input on our final venue contenders. You helped us decide on the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia for next year’s conference location. Though Reston is a little ways from DC (20 miles), people are excited about the warm and spacious venue, the incredible room rates ($124/night plus tax!), the free shuttle from Dulles airport, the cool location, and the metro stop that’s opening soon in Reston.
We think the pluses far outweigh the minuses, and appreciate all of you helping us think through this important decision. Photos of the Reston Hyatt are up on the Facebook page here if you’d like to check them out.
We’ve also just created a Facebook “event” for the conference, which will be a great place for you to stay updated on the latest details on the conference as things develop. Visit www.tinyurl.com/ks4dr8g to indicate that you’re “going” or “maybe” going in order to stay updated.
I’ve been thinking that the next NCDD confab call could be a “year-in-review” type call, with several different people from the network providing updates and insights on their work throughout the past year. We’d do this in January since we all have enough going on this month!
This has been an incredible year for the dialogue and deliberation community, with groundbreaking projects and initiatives popping up all over the place. I have my own ideas for who we might ask to weigh in about their projects and progress during a Year-In-Review call, but I’m curious to hear what NCDD members would be interested in hearing about.
Please take a second and share your thoughts via the comments here. What projects, initiatives, or organizations might you want to hear from? What would you like to see included on a call focused on 2013 goings-on in the dialogue and deliberation community?
(By the way, we do have a Tech Tuesday event this month on the 17th, and over 100 people are already signed up to hear from Dave Biggs of MetroQuest about his organization’s view on and approach to tech-enabled public participation. Don’t forget to register if you’re interested!)
We are excited to share about a great new initiative from our partners at Public Agenda, in collaboration with the National Issues Forums and the Kettering Foundation. Together, they are launching Beyond the Polls, a new regular commentary on public opinion issues. We encourage everyone to check out the initial announcement about the project below, or find the original announcement here.
Welcome to Beyond the Polls, our regular commentary on what Americans are thinking about pivotal issues our country and communities face. Each month, we offer a second look — a deeper look — at public opinion. We try to put survey results in context and enrich them by drawing on our extensive experience listening to citizens in both research and community settings over the years.
Our aim is to explore and understand the hopes, values, concerns, and priorities people bring to today’s issues — the public questions and controversies we think about every day. Just as important, we want to juxtapose the views that polling typically captures with what happens to those views when citizens have a chance to absorb and weigh different options for addressing issues and hear what other citizens have to say about them.
So what led us to develop Beyond the Polls? Here is some of what’s behind the series: (more…)
Compassionate Listening delegations to Israel and the West Bank allow us to engage with this heart-wrenching situation in a life-affirming way. Each delegation meets with Israelis and Palestinians representing multiple “sides” to the conflict. We meet people and hear perspectives that deepen our understanding and help build the relationships necessary to establish trust.
This is a most heart-opening way to approach the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Compassionate Listening is based on a simple yet profound formula for the resolution of conflict: that to help reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of all sides.
On this basis, TCLP founder Leah Green began leading annual delegations to Israel and Palestine in 1991. Today, after 29 delegations in 22 years, and countless conflict transformation workshops for Israelis and Palestinians, TCLP is one of the oldest organizations engaged in people-to-people peacemaking.
My co-leader Munteha Shukrallah is a Muslim American. We have been to the Middle East on Compassionate Listening trips a dozen times. We look forward to expanding YOUR horizons in May of 2014.
I’m excited to tell you about this month’s Tech Tuesday event, which will be hosted by Dave Biggs, Co-Founder of MetroQuest, on Tuesday, December 17th, from 1-2pm Eastern (10-11am Pacific).
MetroQuest is a new organizational member of NCDD, so some of you may not yet be aware of their work. Dave was a keynote speaker at the recent IAP2-USA conference in Salt Lake, and MetroQuest public involvement software is recommended as a best practice by the APA, TRB, FWHA and other agencies.
Dave will be talking to us about what he has learned about best practices for online engagement, and will give us a demonstration of the MetroQuest software by walking us through several recent case studies. Register today to reserve your spot on this FREE Tech Tuesday webinar!
As a member the Participatory Budgeting Project’s advisory board, I wanted to invite you to join me today, on Giving Tuesday, in supporting a group that is doing amazing work bringing Participatory Budgeting (PB) to the U.S. PB is a process that empowers people to decide how tax dollars are spent in their communities. People come together to brainstorm ideas for how to improve their community, work with experts to turn these ideas into concrete proposals, and then vote to decide which proposals get funded. This revolutionary process has been used all over the world to decide how to spend over a billion dollars.
The Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) makes this happen across North America, and I’m proud to serve on their Advisory Board. Since 2010, PBP has worked with partners in places like New York, Chicago, and California to engage 30,000 people in deciding on how to spend nearly $30 million in their communities. They’ve got a great video if you want to learn more. Or you can read about those who are experiencing the excitement of PB, such as Jenny Aguiar, one of the youth participants in the citywide process in Vallejo, CA: (more…)
Our friends and partners at CommunityMatters have been having a lot of fun recently, and we wanted to share a bit about it so that NCDD members aren’t missing out! CM recently hosted a conference call on Creating Fun Places, and you can find the notes for the call here and/or listen to the audio of the call here. We also encourage you to check out their follow-up blog post about lessons from the call below or find the original on the CM blog by clicking here.
5 Tips for Creating Playful Places in Your Town
Mike Lanza of Playborhood and Brian Corrigan of Oh Heck Yeah take play pretty seriously. Mike turned his front yard into a neighborhood gathering place focused on play, and Brian’s organizing a large-scale street arcade in downtown Denver. Mike and Brian both love having fun, but they also know that play is beneficial for their communities.
Mike’s house is an epicenter for play, attracting kids and adults alike with fun fountains, sandboxes and even an in-ground trampoline. He’ll tell you that after creating this neighborhood gathering spot, people on his block are more physically active, more social and they have more fun. These benefits are characteristic of third places – spaces outside of work or home where people gather.
For Brian, Oh Heck Yeah’s focus on turning downtown Denver into an immersive street arcade is about building trust among strangers, generating new ideas and inspiring partnerships that can make the city an even better place to live, work and (of course) play.
On our last CommunityMatters conference call, Mike and Brian shared their ideas for creating more playful places. If you want to reap the benefits of play in your own community, here are five tips for getting started: (more…)
We are pleased to highlight the post below, which came from NCDD Sustaining Member and 2012 NCDD Catalyst Award winner John Spady of the National Dialogue Network. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!
I am asking readers of this NCDD blog to make a small contribution of time during this brief public analysis phase. Click on both of the links below and just focus on what interests you. Try to understand “what the data is saying.” Then add a comment at the end of this post with any insights you are able to glean from the preliminary report or Excel file. In this current phase, the general public is urged to help interpret the preliminary results received and to submit insights for review and inclusion in the 2013 Summary Report. All assistance will be acknowledged.
If you want a special “cross tab” for analysis, or have any other questions, just let me know — leave a comment below or call our toll free message line: 800-369-2342
Thanks for your help… and now here are the links you’ll need:
Number of self-selected participants who answered the national Opinionnaire® Survey as of Nov. 23, 2013: 105
This post is shared from the blog of supporting NCDD member and professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Boston, Dr. Peter Levine. Peter shares a humorous take on the not-so-funny state of public meetings, and highlights the NCDD-supported Making Participation Legal report. For more info about this important intitiative and how it was created, check out our write up on its release.
Making Public Participation Legal
This is pretty much how “public participation” looks when it takes the form of a meeting with officials at the head of the table defending their policies, and their fellow citizens lining up to speak:
The “Parks and Recreaton” satire hits so close to home because public forums usually use awful formats and methods. As Matt Leighninger writes:
The vast majority of public meetings are run according to a formula that hasn’t changed in decades: officials and other experts present, and citizens are given three-minute increments to either ask questions or make comments. There is very little interaction or deliberation. Turnout at most public meetings is very low – local officials often refer to the handful of people who typically show up as the “usual suspects.” But if the community has been gripped by a controversy, turnout is often high, and the three-minute commentaries can last long into the night. On most issues, the public is either angry or absent; either way, very little is accomplished (Making Public Participation Legal, p. 3).
One reason is the laws that allow or require public participation: they are poorly structured. The Working Group on Legal Frameworks for Public Participation has developed frameworks for better state and local laws. Their model legislation and other materials are presented in a new report, Making Public Participation Legal, available from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC).
We hope you’ll take a moment to read this inspiring article about the power of art in public meetings - and in this case, the art of words – from our friends at AmericaSpeaks. You can read it below or find the original post on their blog by clicking here.
The Power of Spoken Word
We have facilitated hundreds of public meetings over the past 18 years. All are memorable in their own right, but some have special moments that are unforgettable.
At our Creating Community Solutions DC meeting on Saturday, October 12th, we facilitated a day-long meeting for 400 participants on mental health in the District. We had a fantastic turnout, literally standing room only, and particularly of youth aged 15-24, with more than 120 participating.
In every meeting, we try to feature local talent of one type or another – whether it be a band that plays prior to the beginning of a meeting or an exercise leader who leads an energetic stretch break for participants 4 or 5 hours into the meeting.
At Creating Community Solutions, we had the honor of including two very talented, precocious teenage spoken word artists, both from the DC Youth Slam Team.
Both artists – Amina Iro and Thomas “Vocab” Hill – have been performing for the past year, and have competed in national contests like the 2013 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival.
Amina performed first, a powerful poem about the depression her mother has battled and the impact it has on her mom, herself, and her family. The crowd gave her an extended standing ovation (more…)