Next Century Cities Offers Playbook for Tech-Powered Civic Engagement

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Next Century Cities Offers Playbook for Tech-Powered Civic Engagement
Playbook Shares Key Lessons from Benton Next Generation Engagement Award Winners and Checklist for Future City Projects

Washington, DC (September 7, 2017) — Next Century Cities released 5 Lessons for Tech-Powered Civic Engagement: The Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award Playbook today, sharing key lessons for communities that want to leverage technology to better engage their residents in civic life. The Playbook is attached to this release and can be found at this link.

The Playbook includes learning from the three Benton Next Generation Engagement Award winning cities as well as other best practices and city models. It is geared towards local government leaders and practitioners as they work to more effectively empower residents and increase citizens’ access to democratic decision making using high-speed broadband and technological tools.

The Playbook was released at an event at Google’s Washington, DC headquarters that highlighted how cities are leading the way in tapping technology to connect and hear from their residents. The release event featured representatives from the three inaugural Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award winning cities — Austin, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Raleigh, North Carolina — who spoke about the work they have accomplished in the past year.

“Next-generation broadband is a valuable tool for empowering citizens to be actively engaged in their communities, which is why we awarded funding for three exciting new civic tech projects and why we’re releasing this Playbook for more cities to use,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “The Benton Next Generation Engagement Playbook that we released today explores lessons our three winning cities learned in their first year of project implementation, and will help more communities nationwide tap the power of high-speed broadband connectivity to offer better access to democracy and civic life.”

The accomplishments of the three Benton Award-winning cities and innovative projects implemented by other cities across the country are highlighted in depth in the Playbook. The Playbook also includes five key lessons from projects that have successfully leveraged technology for civic engagement and a Civic Engagement Checklist that community leaders can use as they plan and implement their own future civic tech efforts.

The five main lessons explored in the new Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Playbook are as follows:

  1. Build With, Not For – Each community knows its own needs best, so engaging stakeholders across the impacted area during the project’s initial phase is key.
  2. Partnership Breeds Results – Cross-sector collaboration brings expertise to the table, and promotes buy-in.
  3. Civic Technology Is a Spectrum – A city’s approach should match its goal, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to engaging citizens.
  4. The Multiplier Effect – Effective civic technology programs yield benefits far beyond their immediate goals.
  5. Changing Communities for the Better – Well-executed digital civic engagement projects ensure citizens’ voices are heard in new and interactive ways, which can lead to increased feelings of empowerment, a greater level of ownership and attachment to the community.

“Next Century Cities hopes that this Playbook will provide community leaders with a roadmap and tested set of best practices to aid them as they leverage innovative technologies to create and implement civic engagement projects,” Deb Socia continued.

A video of this event can be accessed at:

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