Citizen engagement refers to building a sense of community and strong attachments, which can create a way to address persistent problems in a community. Local governments need to encourage residents and employees to be engaged in the activities of governance and work together to help make their communities better.
A white paper from the Alliance for Innovation identifies steps local governments can take to achieve a higher level of citizen engagement by strengthening connections. The paper, "Connected Communities," draws on 12 essays written by experts on citizen engagement to consider the alternative goals of citizen participation and engagement, the forms citizen engagement takes, how it contributes to community building, who is responsible for the actions that come out of citizen engagement efforts, and the kind of issues and decisions that can benefit from engagement with residents.
The white paper discusses goals and alternative strategies and methods, as well as evaluating the views of leading researchers. It includes case studies of local governments that involve citizens in decision making, dialogue, delivering services, and shared efforts to solve problems. The paper outlines steps organizations can take to develop partnerships with citizens and community organizations.
The paper is available at http://www.tlgconference.org/communityconnectionswhitepaper.pdf.