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Retrofitting Homes for Energy Efficiency in Portland

This case study from The Intersector Project outlines how Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability used cross-sector collaboration to address the need to retrofit homes for increased energy efficiency.

From the Intersector Project

IP_PortlandAn estimated 40 percent of carbon dioxide pollution in the United States comes from energy used in homes. In Portland, Oregon, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city while bettering the economic and social development of local residents and businesses. In 2009, stakeholders came together to draft a plan designed to provide energy upgrades to 500 Portland homes and cut energy consumption by 10 to 30 percent using an innovating financing model to eliminate the upfront costs that deterred homeowners from pursuing environmentally-friendly energy retrofits. Led by Derek Smith, a sustainability expert with a record of working in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, collaborators came together to create Clean Energy Works Portland (CEWP), an innovative program that used a revolving loan to finance upgrades, working with local contractors to add high-quality jobs to the economy which resulted in a reduction of twenty percent or greater energy consumption in most participating homes. (more…)

Reducing the Risks of Catastrophic Wildfires in Flagstaff

A case study from The Intersector Project about reducing the risks of wildfires in Flagstaff, Arizona.

From the Intersector Project

Years of extensive wildland fire suppression in the Southwest has left many forests with unnaturally high levels of forest fuels, like dense undergrowth and thick litter fall. This has changed the natural fire ecology from low, fast-burning wildfires, to much larger crown fires that kill trees and undermine landscape integrity. In 2010, a wildfire and subsequent flooding on the east side of the San Francisco Peaks, just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, caused over $150 million in combined suppression and recovery. A similar wildfire in either of the two Flagstaff watersheds could potentially flood much of downtown and/or disrupt 50 percent of the city’s water supply, resulting in significant long-term financial and life-style impacts within the community. Recognizing the need for preventative action, a partnership between the city, county, state, and federal governments, with support from local non-profit and for-profit organizations, has resulted in the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP). With Flagstaff Wildland Fire Management Officer Paul Summerfelt coordinating FWPP activities, FWPP plans to mitigate the risk of potentially devastating wildfires in Flagstaff’s critical watershed areas by managing forest fuels and restoring natural ecosystem functions. This will include thinning out dense forests and reintroducing a low-intensity fire regime. To fund FWPP, Flagstaff passed a $10 million municipal bond with 74 percent approval rate, making FWPP the only forest restoration work on National Forests funded through municipal bonds.

“The strength of a management group is much better when it’s not just a single agency. When you get different people involved, they see things differently and everybody brings something into the collaborative process… If you want to go fast go by yourself, but if you want to make a difference, go with others.”— Paul Summerfelt, Flagstaff Fire Department’s Wildland Fire Management Officer

This case study, authored by The Intersector Project, tells the story of this initiative.

More about The Intersector ProjectThe Intersector Project
The Intersector Project is a New York-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to empower practitioners in the government, business, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. We provide free, publicly available resources for practitioners from every sector to implement collaborative solutions to complex problems. We take forward several years of research in collaborative governance done at the Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School and expand on that research to create practical, accessible resources for practitioners.

Follow on Twitter @theintersector.

Resource Link: http://intersector.com/case/flagstafffire_arizona/ (Download the case study here.)

This resource was submitted by Neil Britto, the Executive Director at The Intersector Project via the Add-a-Resource form.

What is Public Engagement and Why Do It? (ILG)

This five-page tip sheet guide from Institute for Local GovernmentWhat is Public Engagement and Why Should I Do It? (2015), has two major sections: part 1 puts forth public engagement terms to help local officials find which approach “fits” best and part 2 gives benefits of engaging the public. Download the PDF for free here.

From the guide…

ILG_PE and WhyWhat is Public Engagement?

Six definitions are given for public officials to better understand which approach is the most appropriate to use: civic engagement, public engagement, public information/outreach, public consultation, public participation/deliberation, and sustained public problem solving.

Why Engage the Public?

  • better identification of the public’s values, ideas and recommendations
  • more informed residents- about issues and about local agencies
  • improved local agency decision-making and actions, with better impacts and outcomes
  • more community buy-in and support, with less contentiousness
  • more civil discussions and decision making
  • faster project implementation with less need to revisit again
  • more trust in each other and in local government
  • higher rates of community participation and leadership development

About the Institute for Local Government
The Institute for Local Government is the nonprofit research education affiliate of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties. Its mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. The Institute’s goal is to be the leading provider of information that enables local officials and their communities to make good decisions. Founded in 1955, the Institute has been serving local officials’ information needs for 55-plus years. Some of the highlights of that history are detailed in the story below. While respecting and honoring its past, the Institute is also intently focused on the present and future. In these difficult economic times, the need for the Institute’s materials for local officials is even greater.

Follow on Twitter: @InstLocGov.

Resource Link: www.ca-ilg.org/document/what-public-engagement

Reforestation of Parks in Seattle

This four-page case study (2014) from The Intersector Project outlines how the City of Seattle established the Green Seattle Partnership to  help reforest the city parks in Seattle, Washington.

From the Intersector Project

In 1994 the City of Seattle and the Parks Department began to notice something wrong with trees in city parks. Research found that Seattle’s 2,500 acres of forested city parks were at risk from invasive plants such as English Ivy, Himalayan blackberry and bindweed. In 2004, experts projected that within 20 years about 70 percent of Seattle’s forested parkland trees would be dead. Previously, park-goers removed invasive species on their own, while non-profit and government organizations likewise worked independently. Rather than helping the problem, however, these piecemeal efforts placed an undue strain on the city’s existing resources. In order to save the parks, a shared effort between community members, experts in forestry, and the departments that held park resources was necessary. In 2004, the Green Seattle Partnership was formed, with the aim of arming citizens to help the city’s trees in partnership with the Department of Parks, Public Utilities and the Office of Sustainability and Environment. Under the leadership of Mark Mead, Senior Urban Forester, the Partnership created a 20-year strategic plan to sustain Seattle’s forested parks. Green Seattle Partnership is now the largest urban forest restoration project in the country. Mark’s use of agents across all sectors connected to the issue, and mobilizing community members to volunteer 500,000 hours by 2013 to the reforestation program, have put the Green Seattle Partnership in place to achieve their goal of planting 500,000 new trees by 2025.

IP_Seattle (more…)

Organizing Community-wide Dialogue for Action and Change

This comprehensive 157-page guide, Organizing Community-wide Dialogue for Action and Change, from Everyday Democracy was published September 2001, to help develop a community-wide dialogue to change program from start to finish. Part 1 of the guide gives an overview of Community-wide dialogue “study circles”, and Part 2 is  how to organize a program: clarifying the issues, building your team, developing a plan and sustaining a program. Part 3 is about five case study community profiles from: Georgia, North Carolina, New York, California, and Illinois.

The guide can be downloaded here.

From the guide…

Organizing a community-wide study circle program is a complex undertaking. Many things will be happening at the same time: coalition building, communication and publicity, recruiting participants, training facilitators, fund raising, planning for action, and more. The guide is designed to help you understand and carry out the many aspects of community-wide organizing for public dialogue and action.

The Study Circle Process:

The study circle process is not magic or mysterious. It’s simply a tested set of democratic principles and tools for engaging the whole community in all its variety, bringing people together for public dialogue, and combining their ideas and resources to create and implement solutions.

A Community-wide Study Circle Program:

  • is organized by a diverse coalition that reflects the whole community.
  • includes a large number of participants from all walks of life.
  • uses easy-to-use, nonpartisan discussion material.
  • uses trained facilitators who reflect the community’s diversity.
  • results in specific opportunities to move to action when the study circles conclude.

More about Everyday Democracy Everyday Democracy
Our mission is to help communities talk and work together to create communities that work for everyone. We work directly with local communities, providing advice and training and flexible how-to resources.

Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

We have learned that some of the key components to ensuring racially-equitable systemic change include building relationships, establishing a diverse coalition, having trained peer facilitators during dialogues, building on assets, and linking actions to individual, community, and policy change. We provide online tools and in-person trainings on organizing, racial equity, facilitation, communications, and action planning. We act as a catalyst and coach for communities, knowing that the people of each community are best suited to carry out and sustain the work that will make a difference.

The communities we serve are the focal point of our work. Our ultimate aim is to help create communities that value everyone’s voice and work for everyone, and to help create a strong national democracy that upholds these principles.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/resources/organizing-community-wide-dialogue-action-and-change

This resource was submitted by Rebecca Reyes, the Communications Manager at Everyday Democracy, via the Add-a-Resource form.

Participatory Practices in Organizations

This 17-page review article, Participatory Practices in Organizations by Caroline Lee was published 2015 in Sociology Compass, an online journal aimed at reviewing state-of-the-art research for a broad audience of undergraduates, researchers, and those who want to stay posted on developments in particular fields.

The piece is a relatively quick overview and digest of a range of historic and current research on participation (not just deliberation, but much that is relevant to it) in a variety of different types of organizations. It might be useful for NCDD members seeking a quick literature review, students looking for gaps in existing research, or anyone interested in how organizational scholars view the evolution of participatory practices over the last century.

From the Abstract…

The literature on participatory practices in organizations has been less coherent and more limited to subspecialties than the literature on bureaucracy in organizations – despite a number of celebrated studies of participation in 20th century American sociology. Due to the practical nature of participatory reforms and the ambiguity of participation as a concept, attempts to review participatory knowledge have a tendency to focus on refining definitions and clarifying frameworks within subfields.

This article instead provides a broad thematic overview of three different types of research on participation in organizations, all critical to an understanding of today’s dramatic expansion of participatory practices across a variety of organizations. Classic research studied participation as dynamic and central to organizational legitimacy. Institutional design research has focused on participation as a stand-alone governance reform with promising empowerment potential, but mixed results in domains such as health care, environmental politics, and urban planning. Finally, recent research seeks to place participatory practices in the context of shifting relationships between authority, voice, and inequality in the contemporary era. The article concludes with suggestions for building on all three categories of research by exploring what is old and new in the 21st century’s changing participatory landscape.

Download the article here.

About the Author
Caroline W. Lee is Associate Professor of Sociology at Lafayette College. Her research explores the intersection of social movements, business, and democracy in American organizations. Her book Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry was published in 2015 by Oxford University Press. Her co-edited volume with Michael McQuarrie and Edward Walker, Democratizing Inequalities: Dilemmas of the New Public Participation, was published in 2015 by NYU Press.

Resource Link: http://sites.lafayette.edu/leecw/publications/

This resource was submitted by Caroline Lee, Associate Professor of Sociology at Lafayette College, via the Add-a-Resource form.

Common Ground for Action

Common Ground for Action is an online platform for deliberation sponsored by the Kettering Foundation starting in 2013, who partnered with Conteneo, a creator of serious decision-making games, to co-develop the forum. Kettering and Conteneo collaborated from scratch to create a unique online forum that engaged participants and produced an authentic deliberation space, which was then tested through the National Issues Forums (NIF) network.

NIFI_Common GroundFrom NIFI…

Common Ground for Action forums are the online version of traditional in-person National Issues Forums. Common Ground for Action is a simple but sophisticated platform that runs in any browser—no technical mumbo jumbo!

In CGA, small groups are able to learn more about the tensions in an issue, examine options for dealing with the problem, weigh tradeoffs, and find common ground just like in in-person National Issues Forums, but with visuals that let you actually see the shape of your conversation as it evolves.

From Kettering…

The online forum has five basic areas:

1. Lobby: Participants get introduced to the platform, other participants, moderator
2. Forum Home: Participants get introduced to the issue, other participants’ personal stakes
3. Baseline: Participants register a personal baseline with regard to the actions
4. Examination of Options: for each option, participants do:
* a personal sense-making and evaluation of the actions and tradeoffs within an option
* then discuss the option similarly to an in-person forum
5. Common Ground Reflection: Participants reflect upon common ground from across the options and see the difference their deliberation has made.

Check out this short video about how to participate in Common Ground for Action here. (more…)

Building Healthy & Vibrant Communities: Achieving Results through Community Engagement (ILG)

ILG_whole planning pamphletThis pamphlet from Institute for Local GovernmentBuilding Healthy & Vibrant Communities: Achieving Results through Community Engagement, highlights information for public engagement in land use planning. The pamphlet reviews: What is Land Use Planning, Who is Involved, Why Community Engagement Matters and How to Engage. Download the pamphlet here.

About the Institute for Local Government
The Institute for Local Government is the nonprofit research education affiliate of the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties. Its mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. The Institute’s goal is to be the leading provider of information that enables local officials and their communities to make good decisions. Founded in 1955, the Institute has been serving local officials’ information needs for 55-plus years. Some of the highlights of that history are detailed in the story below. While respecting and honoring its past, the Institute is also intently focused on the present and future. In these difficult economic times, the need for the Institute’s materials for local officials is even greater.

Follow on Twitter: @InstLocGov.

Resource Link: www.ca-ilg.org/post/building-healthy-and-vibrant-communities

Creating an Environment for Healthy Lifestyles in Brownsville

This four-page case study (2014) from The Intersector Project outlines how the University of Texas School of Public Health used cross collaboration with local clinicians and the City Health Department to create opportunities for healthier lifestyles in Brownsville, Texas.

From the Intersector Project

In 2001, the University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) Brownsville campus began clinical research to identify and quantify what health risks existed in Brownsville. They found 80 percent of residents were either obese or overweight, one in three were diabetic (50 percent unknowingly), and 70 percent of residents had no healthcare coverage. After initiating a community media campaign called Tu Salud Si Cuenta, UTSPH formed a Community Advisory Board (CAB) in order to speak about the findings and promote change in the Brownsville community. They involved local clinicians, including Dr. Rose Zavaletta Gowen, an Obstetrician Gynecologist, to inform clinicians and encourage them to get involved. After agreeing actions needed to be taken, a team of UTSPH, the City Health Department, a local community health clinic Su Clinica, and Rose organized and designed a farmers’ market, with the goal of making fresh fruits and vegetables accessible and affordable to every income level in the city. The Brownsville Farmers’ Market opened in 2006 followed by an integrated network of initiatives including The Challenge, an annual weight loss event; CycloBia, an open streets program; policy changes including Sidewalk ordinance, Safe Passing ordinance, Complete Streets Resolution, and Smoking ban ordinance; and a Master Bike and Hike Plan aimed at providing a trail within one half mile of every residence in the city. The CAB, which today includes over 200 members, is actively involved in all of these programs in a variety of capacities to promote a healthier Brownsville.

IP_Brownsville (more…)

Activity to Explore the Impact of Skin Color

ED_Activity_Skin ColorEveryday Democracy released this activity to show how participants’ may have different experiences based on their skin color. The goal is to prompt thinking about the different experiences because of skin color and provide an opportunity for dialogue. Part One is a true/false skin color survey and Part Two is a dialogue prompt about privilege.