City hall isn’t so much a public policy factory as a switching yard, where ideas come in from the outside and are acted on. So where do big public policy ideas originate in your city? And what happens to them as they move along the tracks? This could be a rich source for your reporting, and an eye-opening series of stories for your readers.
Civic work runs on relationships. But because communities are diverse and power so diffuse, it takes connections that are both broad and deep to be effective. This, in turn, requires we approach relationship building differently in civic work than in other activities. Here’s a key to success: Learning to ask people to do things for you.
As we’ve grown in recent decades in our knowledge of how cities work, we’ve lost our understanding of how city politics works. As a result, we have a greater storehouse of what ought to be done, but less and less knowledge of how to do it.
What connects a civic project as it works through the community change process is the group that maps its strategies, finding answers and allies. This is the guiding coalition, and it changes as the project advances. Here’s how.
This is the heart of modern civic leadership: Being the one who creates consensus among independent interests for solutions that benefit all. It starts with thinking systemically.