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Transforming Public Life: A Decade of Citizen Engagement in Bridgeport, CT

On the face of it, the story of Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a familiar one. After losing much of its manufacturing and industrial base following the Second World War, the city confronted the problems of many old industrial cities—high unemployment, a shrinking tax base, the growth of violent crime and drugs. So far, so familiar. But what sets Bridgeport apart from cities with similar histories is the evolving story of its uncommonly rich civic life. When it comes time to solve community problems or make and implement public policy, the institutions, organizations, and individuals of Bridgeport defy business as usual through a remarkably inclusive and deliberative citizen-centered approach to problem solving. This 2007 case study written by Will Friedman, Alison Kadlec, and Lara Birnback for Public Agenda traces the evolution of this unusual civic culture and reflects on its lessons.

Resource Link: http://www.publicagenda.org/files/pdf/cape_bridgeport.pdf

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