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Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 24 2014

An old-fashioned barn-raising in Lansing, Canada (circa 1900-1919)

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? Read More

Citizinvestor Reframes its Civic Crowdfunding Strategy

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, September 5 2013

Citizinvestor's reframed attempt to gather public ideas

Civic engagement isn’t just about soliciting responses from citizens, it’s about framing them: the better the frame, the greater the response. It can be a subtle lesson, but it is one that recently led civic crowdfunding platform Citizinvestor to alter the way in which it solicits potential projects from the public. Apparently, people are more apt to say they like an idea than to sign their names to a petition. Read More

Online Civic Engagement: Hey, Folks, It's Harder Than It Looks

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, January 11 2013

Budding interest, mixed results in city-backed online volunteer organizing. Photo: Eric Kliff

City officials enticed by the oft-repeated promise of the web for increased citizen participation, beware — if you build it they won't necessarily come. Read More

In Virginia, City Council Debates to Include Questions Posed Online

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, May 21 2012

The Alexandria Democratic Party in Alexandria, Virginia has partnered with online civic engagement platform ACTion Alexandria to include questions solicited in an online forum in the final Democratic primary debate for a City Council election there on June 4, ahead of the June 12 election, according to a statement released by the group. ACTion Alexandria hopes to work with both parties during the general election.

Participants in the project can add questions to the forum, or vote on questions that have already been posed, although each user is only given three votes to distribute. Users are also encouraged to use their real names. Questions submitted so far hit on topics ranging from broadband access to a ban on food trucks in the city.

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