By Azra Thakur
Over at On the Commons, David Motzenbecker writes about public engagement from his experience as the President of the Minneapolis Planning Commission and how approaching engagement from a "commons," participatory perspective can help bring the "best ideas" to fruition. Motzenbocker writes:
A commons-based process builds early and cross-jurisdictional collaborations to shape a shared vision. The best ideas do not always come from a lone genius or experts, but rather are an amalgam of many ideas nurtured together.
In his presentation of public engagement, Motzenbecker posits that public processes are typically unidirectional and expert-driven in nature. Processes often exclude the public from the engagement process by presenting limited amounts of information to them during public proceedings. Motzenbecker contends that this should change--by providing increased access to information there can be increased engagement between the public and experts with outcomes that are truly more "commons"-oriented in nature.
Motzenbecker presents three case studies of applications where ideas from a commons-based approach are integrated with web technology (through the innovative use of wikis) and applied to public engagement in planning scenarios. Alongside the main blog post, there is a second enlightening essay on "The New Tools for a Revival of Public Engagement," a list of twelve suggestions or "tools" to consider in public engagement.
Motzenbecker's two entries on public engagement offer a refreshing, technology-savvy viewpoint on how promoting participatory, collaborative public engagement can lead to more fruitful, mutually beneficial resolutions.
Click here to read David's entries on public engagement.