Over the years we have dedicated ourselves to supporting community organizations, grassroots groups, urban social movements and citizen action. We have examined various forms of decentralization to the neighborhood level to learn whether these structured forms for citizen participation bring the voice of the people closer to being heard or create an extra layer of bureaucracy to their efforts to be heard.
Our projects include:
- “Grassrooting the System”, which was based on site visits of several days to over 60 groups in 16 cities across the US. Equally valuable as the typology and analysis was the practical hands-on help we provided by connecting groups working on the same issues. (Ford Foundation funded).
- “From Conflict to Co-production”, a project organized by Larry Susskind on Citizen Participation in Western Europe. Our cases were on Madrid, London and Copenhagen. (Lincoln Land Institute funded).
- “Urban Social Movements” in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal with guidance from Manuel Castells.
- “Grassroots Leadership for the 21st century: New York and Los Angeles Project of leadership development related to innovation and mutual learning. (Kellogg Foundation funded)
- “Singapore Citizen Participation Project”; Model Cities Collaboration on how to structure and implement meaningful citizen participation as per Sherry Arnstein’s ‘ Ladder of Citizen Participation’.
- “Voices from the Street”–NY, Oakland and SF–what makes people join and participate in collective action and how it transforms them.
- “New York City Partnership”-how to involve community leaders in a Business-led from the “outer boroughs”
- “Neighborhoods Task Force for the National Urban Policy”–dealt with how to strengthen community participation in decision-making and what forms of input have the greatest impact.
- Community Workshops Havana, Cuba–Established Talleres Comunitarios in 3 low income neighborhoods, which have now expanded to the entire city.
- “Participatory Budgeting” (started in Porto Alegre, Brazil) to insure transparency and local decision-making in service delivery, locational decisons and municipal investment priorities. This is now being done in cities throughout Latin America, Asia, India and Africa–and even in NYC.
- “DIviding the Big Apple “–project with the NYC Community Boards, Washington DC (Advisory Neighborhood Councils (ANCs) and San Francisco’s Neighborhood Advisory Councils to better match local needs and priorities with city resource allocation and land use decisions. (Russell Sage Foundation funded).