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NLC and the City Futures Panel on Democratic Governance

The National League of Cities (NLC) has been working in the field of democratic governance for more than twenty years, in the unique position of being able to employ effective techniques to encourage and enable city officials in dialogue and inquiry around various forms of civic engagement, consensus building, collaboration, and participatory practices. NLC’s Strengthening Democratic Local Governance Project has focused on effective democratic participation in public life, especially the structuring of public life to facilitate and support effective participation.

The National League of Cities is the oldest and largest national organization representing municipal governments throughout the United States. Its mission is to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership, and governance. Learn more at www.nlc.org.

Of special note is NLC’s City Futures Panel on Democratic Governance.

The purpose of NLC’s work on democratic governance is to help local officials respond to these challenges. Drawing on case studies of successful projects, the City Futures Panel on Democratic Governance has explored ways to educate, involve, and mobilize citizens in a variety of events and initiatives. The Panel’s research and written materials describe how communities have used democratic governance approaches to address key issues such as:

  • Planning and development;
  • Race, diversity, and equity;
  • Crime and public safety;
  • Education and school improvement; and
  • Public finance.

The stories of these efforts illustrate both the potential of democratic governance and the larger challenges and implications. This work illustrates some changing assumptions about the role of local officials.

Recent activities and products of the Panel:

Activities and Agenda

  • Hold workshops and seminars for local officials at the 2010 Congressional Cities Conference in Washington, DC.
  • Encourage and enable city officials to enhance democratic governance by articulating and delivering a strong, compelling message, using a variety of venues.
  • Work with state municipal leagues and other networks to reach out to a broader array of local officials.
  • Work with the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) on the Democracy Helpline and other key services for local leaders.

Mark Linder, Director of Parks & Recreation in Cupertino, CA is the 2010 Chair of the Panel.

For more information about the Panel, membership, or its activities, please contact:

Bonnie Mann
National League of Cities
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 626-3125


Matt Leighninger
Deliberative Democracy Consortium
1050 17th St. NW, Suite 701
Washington, D.C. 20036

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