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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Local Deliberative Democracy

In our chapter on federalism, we suggest that a decentralized political structure may provide more opportunities for deliberation and active citizenship. A recent article on the National League of Cities site makes a similar point:
[The] experimentation with neighborhood governance that has occurred in a handful of cities over a 30-year period represents a tremendous, and often overlooked, source of knowledge on these questions. Starting in the early 1970s, local governments in places like Portland, Ore.; Dayton, Ohio; and St. Paul, Minn., created neighborhood council systems as a way of engaging residents in public decision-making and problem-solving. The history of these neighborhood governance structures offers a rich legacy of successes, mistakes, strengths and weaknesses that can inspire and inform democracy reform at every level of government.