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Cartoon guy running away from zombies

If you feel like you’re facing increasing tensions in your public engagement processes, you’re not alone. Across the country the climate of public discourse has been shifting dramatically. It’s getting spooky out there. Planners and public engagement practitioners working for government agencies increasingly find themselves on the front lines of highly polarized debates. Are you feeling scared? The good news is there are proven ways to detoxify...

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People on cell phones sitting bench over road

What’s at the top of the IT agenda for digital cities? Each year, the Digital Cities Survey reveals where cities, both large and small, are making tech investments to improve citizen services. This year, “citizen engagement / experience” ranked high on the list, in second place after cybersecurity for local government CIOs. For today’s digital cities, it’s never been easier and more rewarding to engage citizens online. Today,...

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cyclists on the street

It was clear to the City of Toronto that engaging less confident cyclists that make up 60% of the population, yet seldom come to community meetings, might be the key to dramatic mode shifts in the city. Here's how it happened. One of my favorite tasks is interviewing clients to prepare a case study. It’s fun to hear their perspective, and sometimes a great story like...

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public meeting

It’s surprising how seldom we see a breakdown of the cost of public participation across multiple channels or tactics. These breakdowns give a unique window into community engagement that can be extremely useful to agencies trying to create engagement plans and realistic budgets to meet their outreach goals. That’s why we were so surprised when the Metro Nashville Planning Commission included a powerful slide breaking down...

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I'm right and you're an idiot speech from James Hoggan

Image from book launch event courtesy Hoggan & Associates My interview with Author James Hoggan: 'I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up'Published by New Society, May 2016 James Hoggan has influenced my work for two decades. I find myself quoting his work in many of my public speaking engagements and the lessons he has articulated have shaped...

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