News and Events
Davenport Institute Releases Two New Civic Engagement Blogs
The Davenport Institute for Civic Engagement and Public Leadership at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy has launched two new blog sites relating to public engagement in governance. Gov 2.0 Watch will keep abreast of developments relating to the field of Government 2.0–how internet, social media, cellular apps, and other twenty-first century technology affect the relationship between citizens and their governments. Big Society Watch will follow British Prime Minister Dave Cameron’s Big Society program, a national-level civic engagement effort seeking to enlist greater public participation in service delivery.
“Due to fiscal crises and changes in technology, citizens and their governments are interacting in new ways,” notes Pete Peterson, Davenport Institute’s executive director. “These new blogs offer readers the latest news, information, and research on these historic changes from the local to the national levels.”
Rather than extensive editorializing on the issues, Gov 2.0 Watch and Big Society Watch will re-post commentary from experts, observers, and engaged citizens from all perspectives to provide a “one stop” comprehensive resource to encourage informed deliberation about and evaluation of these programs.
Combined, the Davenport Institute’s “blog suite” offers a unique information resource to municipal officials, academics, and anyone interested in the changing relationship between citizens and their governing institutions. Both new websites will be “aggregation” news sites primarily, posting articles and commentary from around the world as the Davenport Institute seeks to inform a robust debate on these issues and their implications for civic engagement at the local, state, and national levels.
Government 2.0 refers to the way that local, state, and national governments are utilizing new media to inform and engage their citizens. Of particular interest to the Davenport Institute is whether this is changing the way citizens view their role in government (especially local government) by creating new activities for citizen involvement or whether they are simply reinforcing old ideas of citizens as customers—merely facilitating the delivery of government services.
Cameron’s Big Society program also has interesting implications for the Davenport Institute, as it seeks to help solve public problems by promoting citizen participation in government. Cameron offers an ambitious agenda to decentralize services to the local level of government and supplement government service provisions with citizen engagement activities. The successes and failures of the Big Society program offer an example for civic engagement advocates in the United States as they consider the appropriate scope, level, and approach to civic engagement.
The launch of the two new sites follows the re-launch of the Davenport Institute’s inCommon blog, which highlights participatory policy-making processes and research and delivers the latest information and research on participatory decision-making—particularly at the city and state levels. As city halls and state houses make increasingly tough decisions on budgets and land use, they are seeking public input and participation in new ways—both online and in-person. The inCommon blog highlights these efforts around the world along with the latest research on the most effective and legitimate projects.
The Davenport Institute for Civic Engagement and Public Leadership at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy works with governments, school districts, regional governance associations, and nonprofit organizations to both support and promote legitimate civic involvement.
For more information, contact Pete Peterson at (310) 506-8054 or visit the Davenport Institute for Civic Engagement and Public Leadership Web site.