the Engagement Commons from Code for America

(Washington, DC) In preparation for a conference later this week on “Tech for Engagement” (at MIT), I have been exploring the Civic Engagement Commons, a compendium of apps and sites that help citizens to engage with government, use or generate public data, or create and circulate news. The focus seems to be on municipalities around the world–the anticipated user is a public official–but the diversity of tools and purposes is worth exploring. It’s interesting to compare this compendium to Participedia, a broader collection of projects that engage citizens in government and politics. Both sites are global and collaborative; they welcome additions from anywhere. One question I will be asking is whether these tools or projects can spark civic concern, confidence, and skills in people who weren’t already interested in participating. That’s perhaps the greatest need in civil society now that we have lost large “recruitment” organizations, such as labor unions and grassroots political parties.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.