Civic Engagement in American Climate Policy: Collaborative Models

A new report, Civic Engagement in American Climate Policy: Collaborative Models, makes the case for ambitious policy that builds upon the best models of engagement across multiple fields of innovation and considers how to build the civic and institutional capacity for resilient and just communities in face of the twin crises of climate and democracy.

Authors drew upon the work of a broad group of academic scholars, nonprofit leaders, and public officials at every level of the federal system. Two years of research helped to shape deliberations at the American Institute of Architects in May 2022, co-sponsored by the Center for Communities by Design, the Kettering Foundation, and CivicGreen at Tisch College, Tufts University.

The report reviews participatory innovations in 12 areas:

  1. Sustainable Cities and Local Climate Planning
  2. Collaborative Environmental Justice and the CARE Program
  3. Community Design and Public Interest Design
  4. Urban and Community Forestry
  5. Collaborative Community Conservation and Ecosystem Management
  6. Environmental Education
  7. Coastal Management and Sea Level Rise
  8. Civilian Climate Corps
  9. Citizen Science
  10. Digital and Geospatial Mapping Tools for Engaged Communities
  11. Climate and Science Communication
  12. Civic Professionals: Associations and Professional Schools

In each area,  policy recommendations are provided to help build further capacity strategically and across fields of practice. It includes an Executive Summary, short bios of the 41 participants and 25 other contributors, and an extensive list of references, many with online links to cases, toolkits, strategic planning documents and the like.

The report’s conclusion also considers how to leverage resources, networks, and leadership through federal agencies, the White House, and partners among nonprofits, local, state, and tribal agencies, and other institutional partners.

The report maps an ambitious route forward, one that is transformational yet eminently practical.

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