building web communities for policy discussion

(Chicago, IL) I am here to visit the impressive Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (It is located right near my favorite shrine to American democracy, Jane Addams’ own Hull House.) Among its many activities and projects is a whole web portal,, that is devoted to policy-relevant information and discussion, plus training modules and tools that help citizens to engage. It just launched, but the IPCE and the urban research university that it represents have the human resources to make it a rich source of news, ideas, and tools.

Meanwhile, AmericaSpeaks, on whose board I am honored to serve, has launched The American Square, a social network/discussion forum “devoted to enabling respectful, multi-partisan conversation about policy and politics.” The organizers say, “We will find real solutions to real problems rather than on sound bites, ego, and demonization of those who disagree with us.”