Citizen Engagement

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Note from the editor

Local governments' ability to engage and communicate with residents has been put to the test this year as they face compounding stressors including extreme weather events, the pandemic and mass protests against government policies. 

The need to reach residents with timely and critical information has arugably never been more important. At the same time, government leaders are asking whether existing methods for communicating and receiving input from residents are effective. From Baltimore to Honolulu, cities are pioneering new citizen engagement strategies while also learning from each other about how to reach their residents with the most timely information available. 

In the trendline below, we dive into the ways that cities have turned to citizen engagement as a key component of how they're navigating the pandemic, climate change and other challenges. 

Cailin Crowe Editor

City strategies evolve on American Rescue Plan spending

The availability of competitive grants and the still-pending infrastructure bill are among the factors in play as local governments work through the historic influx in federal funds.

• Published Oct. 14, 2021

Community-led design of public spaces could have 'ripple effect' in COVID recovery: report

Analysis of public spaces in Detroit; Philadelphia; San Jose, CA; and Akron, OH by the Knight Foundation and design firm Gehl found successful and resilient programming could have long-term effects.

• Published March 24, 2021

Residents' climate anecdotes to inform San Diego resilience plan

Following hazard vulnerability assessments, the city is nearing a resilience draft plan focused on wildfires, sea level rise, extreme heat and flooding.

• Published Feb. 19, 2021

Agencies tap public surveys to gauge transit trends

From Idaho Falls to Norman, Oklahoma, cities and transit agencies are leaning on carefully crafted surveys to navigate the post-COVID future of transit.

• Published Dec. 8, 2020

What Works Cities awards 4 cities top honors for data usage

The Bloomberg Philanthropies nonprofit arm recognized 16 cities total for improving city services and promoting civic engagement with data.

• Published July 14, 2021

New York City rolls out phase one of its e-scooter pilot

Up to 3,000 Veo, Lime and Bird e-scooters are now available in the East Bronx, following a community engagement process designed to inform residents about the pilot’s safety, equity and accessibility.

• Published April 14, 2021

Virginia launches statewide IoT cybersecurity contest

As some state and local governments look to actively bolster their IoT networks, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the competition to leverage in-state students and faculty efforts.

• Published April 14, 2021

Baltimore resilience corps could be model for cities

What the city, the Rockefeller Foundation and other partners learned from the corps' first six months, including how to leverage the program beyond the pandemic.

• Published April 9, 2021

Cities turn to resilience corps as pandemic recovery tactic

San Jose, California, has embraced the initiative, providing jobs and skills training to those residents hit hardest by the pandemic.

• Published March 22, 2021

The end of another Sidewalk Labs-linked project highlights smart city sticking point

Portland Metro dropped its project with data platform Replica over privacy disagreements, an increasingly common obstacle for smart city initiatives.

• Published March 11, 2021

Honolulu's resilience officer outlines path to carbon neutrality

Chief Resilience Officer Matthew Gonser discussed Honolulu's first Climate Action Plan and the creative way local leaders have tackled tough climate conversations with local residents.

• Published Jan. 21, 2021

Trends in Citizen Engagement

From virtual events to new social media tactics, local governments have kicked civic engagement efforts into high-gear in 2020. As public health guidance fluctuates and "pandemic fatigue" spreads nationally, cities will continue to lean on these engagement efforts to maintain resident expectations and forge new paths forward.

included in this trendline
  • How cities are utilizing social media to approach Gen Z and address COVID-19 misconceptions
  • How cities are digitizing their services to survive the new normal
  • 3 keys to creating behavioral change in cities
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.