Proportional Representation: The Good Government Municipal Reform that Wouldn’t “Stay Put”

April 17, 2024

In 1936 the voters of New York City launched a bold experiment in election systems reform adopting the “ranked choice voting” form of proportional representation for city council races. Ten years later, bi-partisan opposition from party insiders and Cold War era fears ended the experiment abruptly.

Governing with Compassion (and Data): An interview with former Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

December 21, 2023

His two terms as mayor were notable for Louisville’s success in attracting jobs and launching innovative initiatives to promote higher education opportunities and provide affordable housing for residents. But his tenure was also punctuated by tragedy and hardship with the onslaught of the COVID pandemic and a controversial police shooting.

Local Governments as Resources for Civic Learning

October 18, 2023

Educators and civil society leaders have been warning about a crisis of civics education for years. Many students are unable to answer basic questions about U.S. government and American history. But taking a course called “Civics” is not the only way for young people to learn about democracy and civic life.

The Role of Local Newspapers in Curbing Polarization

October 21, 2022

In Palm Springs California, the local newspaper took a monthlong break from national politics, publishing only local and state-oriented columns and letters to the editor on its opinion page. Convinced that nationalizing news and opinion consumption increases polarization, a team of researchers wrote a book about the experiment.

A Model for the Twenty First Century: Equity and Engagement in the Ninth Edition, Model City Charter

April 15, 2022

The latest edition of the model city charter continues the National Civic League’s tradition of promoting ethical, efficient governance, but also includes some changes intended to sharpen its focus on public engagement and social equity.

Making Democracy (and Public Administration) Work: An Exchange of Ideas Among City Managers

April 9, 2021

In 2019 and 2020, a group of local government managers met twice a year to trade ideas and experiences on innovative forms of citizen engagement and democratic governance, and in some cases, to unlearn some of the lessons they may have been taught in their M.P.A programs.

Urban Resilience: an Ohio City Adapts to a Century of Disasters

July 9, 2020

Dayton, Ohio, has had a history of setbacks and tough challenges, but also of community perseverance and civic innovation.

Deliberative Polling and the Rise of Wind Power in Texas

April 7, 2020

In the late 1990s, eight electric utilities in Texas participated in an experiment in public consultation about energy priorities. Today, the Lonestar State is the country’s largest producer of wind energy.

Deliberative Democracy, Civic Culture and Local Government Management

April 2, 2019

Local government managers are exploring new ideas about democratic governance and developing new strategies for pubic engagement. These experiments reflect a growing recognition that the challenges facing communities are so complex and the policy choices so value-laden and contentious, that forming a workable consensus required a more rigorous approach to public engagement.

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