Voices Rising: Public Participation in the City of Boulder

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“If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You Always Get What You’ve Always Gotten”

– Henry Ford

In May 2016, the City of Boulder charged the 14-member Public Participation Working Group (PPWG) with recommending improvements to the city’s engagement process and public participation. The City’s goal was to engage citizens in the decisions made by civic leaders. Other cities initiating similar public participation processes include Austin, TX; Portland, OR; Berkeley, CA and Minneapolis, MN.

CDR’s Jonathan Bartsch, Principal, and Taber Ward, Project Manager, facilitate and support PPWG meetings to ensure that the PPWG receives the necessary resources to develop, refine, prioritize and present Public Participation Recommendations to the City Council by June 2017.

At the time of this publication, the PPWG members are well underway with discussions and research.  Initial topics addressed and discussed by the PPWG include, but are not limited to: increasing the City’s outreach efforts; inclusivity and diversity in voices; case-studies; best practices and public participation principles; education; skill-building and cultures; and systems of public participation.  A City Council representative and three staff members from the City’s Communications, Neighborhood Services and Planning departments also attend PPWG meetings to provide guidance and support.

CDR’s role is to facilitate and assist the PPWG in fulfilling its charge to provide applicable, actionable, and thoughtful Recommendations to increase public participation in Boulder.  The ultimate goal of this project is to ensure that citizens have an increased voice, a space, and a place to safely and respectfully contribute to the bigger conversation and process of Boulder governance.

If you would like to know more, find Taber’s contact information here.