Out of despair and extreme tragedy, new patterns of engagement are providing citizens with meaningful opportunities to be involved in the most important public decisions that impact their lives (see New Orleans and World Trade Center events below). What if this level of citizen engagement became the norm? What could we accomplish say, on the issue of climate change, by creating a collective agenda to bring together not just politicians, but also the various experts, side by side with citizens in all the regions of the planet, to learn together and coalesce the global will to act?
- “Displaced New Orleans residents gather to discuss how they’d like their city to recover, in an Internet-linked gathering that allowed for a conversation among some 2000+ of the city’s current and former residents who are now in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and New Orleans. The participants focused on neighborhood stability; education; affordable homes and rent; roads; transit; utilities; health services; and other vital public services following a methodology designed by AmericaSpeaks.” NPR http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6944978.
- Listening to the City – In 2002, AmericaSpeaks was honored with the responsibility of providing thousands of New Yorkers with a meaningful voice in the process of rebuilding the World Trade Center site. “I would be tempted to call it a turning point in the story not only of the World Trade Center, but of American planning in general. … Thousands and thousands of people talking seriously about urban design is something I never thought I would see.”New Yorker Magazine architecture critic, Paul Goldberger.