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Public art plays an invaluable role in the process of community building. Not only does it establish and beautify public spaces, it expresses and supports a sense of neighborhood history, culture and identity and helps drive economic vitality. One aspect of increasing interest is participatory public art, in which the public plays an active role rather than merely being appreciative viewers.
Just as the All-America City Award winners demonstrated, when we engage the whole community, we can thrive together. Authentic community engagement emboldens us to envision and create new models, cross-sector partnerships, broad networks and game-changing resources – the tools that society needs to remove hurdles for children.
Community-based planning takes time and effort, but the time and effort are going to be spent one way or the other, either working with the public up front or having to overcome anger and mistrust because the community was not involved in the first place.
John McKnight, co-founder and co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University, is interviewed by Albert Dzur, a distinguished research professor at Bowling Green State University.
How can we move public engagement beyond the dual limits of angry or apathetic? We need an ideal that brings out the best in human nature and manages or avoids the worst, which would be a significant shift from our current processes that seem to do the opposite. Could we train and engage members of the public to be wise collaborators?
Access to safe, sustainable transportation is often underestimated as an ingredient of well-being. Bike lanes and safe, walkable streets, reliable and energy-and cost-efficient public transit and innovative transportation infrastructure promise a safer, healthier and more economically sound future for all.
Across the nation, communities are convening diverse groups of residents to build trust across lines that too-oft divide and taking shared actions as “stewards of the future” to improve health and well-being for all. At the heart of this mission, are seven “vital conditions” that are essential for the sustained well-being of people and place.
National Civic Review (Print ISSN 0027-9013, Online ISSN1542-7811) is published quarterly by the National Civic League, Copyright © 2018 National Civic League.