A new book offers the remarkable history of America’s most enduring local volunteer institution, the chamber of commerce.
If you want strong local leaders and involved citizens in the future, start today by helping people find one another and get organized for any legitimate purpose. Then be patient. The good news: Cities are good at helping people make connections. With a little effort, they could be great.
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.
Smart citizen engagement follows two principles. It is based on mutual respect between citizens and government officials, and it believes that the greatest progress is made through partnerships, with everyone doing his part.
Super-civic leaders – those whose deaths make front-page news – have something to teach the rest of us about bringing valuable resources to civic work, putting in the time, and being authentic.