Publications

AmericaSpeaks Publications & Citizen Engagement Resources (Chronological Order)

Government Sponsored E-Petitions: A Guide for Development and Implementation Elana Goldstein and Daniel Clark recently published a guide for public managers on e-petition design and implementation. The guide includes three case studies on government sponsored e-petition platforms. Download the pdf.
Beyond the Tools: Four Critical Elements for Good Public Engagement Steve Brigham and Daniel Clark recently published an article in the Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Journal of the American Planning Association that highlights four elements that are critical for good public engagement: linking to decision making, diverse representation, informed participation, and good meeting design and facilitation. Download the pdf.
Assessing Public Participation in an Open Government Era. A Review of Federal Agency Plans. This report describes and analyzes the participation elements included in Federal Agencies’ Open Government Plans. It identifies best practices across Agencies’ public participation initiatives and recommends improvements that would increase the public’s role in shaping federal policy. Download the pdf.
Learning from the Past, Committing to the Future: A Practitioner’s View of Our Democracy. Read the latest article from Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer about how we are facing a pivotal moment in American Democracy. The article was published in the Public Administration Review. Download the PDF.
Community-Based Priorities for Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity in Childhood. Read the latest article from Steve Brigham, published in Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The article discusses how programs like Shaping America’s Youth (SAY) are helping to defined steps that communities & families must integrate into future approaches to help stop the youth obesity epidemic. Download the PDF.
Community Forum Guidebook. This guidebook on Community Forums – and the training that accompanies it – will help you run a successful and highly participatory meeting in your community. Download the pdf.
The Difference that Deliberation Makes. Read this independent evaluation completed by leading experts in public opinion and citizen deliberation about the outcomes from AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy.
Download PDF.
National Performing Arts Convention. Organizations in a diverse and competitive field found common ground and a shared commitment to action through a highly interactive and results-oriented convention. At the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention, AmericaSpeaks helped unite and educate the arts community through a multi-day caucus process. A uniquely designed 21st Century Summit engaged 1,500 attendees.
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Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, A National Conversation. A case study of the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism National Town Meeting that covers the basics of the process, stories from the town meeting and outcomes. Read about using innovations to bridging geography and maintaining full participation.
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Strengthening Democracy. In 2009 AmericaSpeaks, convened the single largest congress of its kind to empower the world’s youth to call world leaders to action on climate change, brought together hundreds of parents, experts and care givers to discuss the critical issues facing a generation of young people as they become adults with autism, convened dozens of stakeholders to discuss sustainable housing policies in Nebraska and more.
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Meeting of the Minds. European citizens wrestled – in nine languages – with the implications of brain science policy to develop recommendations for the European Parliament. Meeting of the Minds showcased a new citizen deliberation method, advancing the European Union’s goal of greater public involvement in technological decision making and governance.
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We the People. We the People engaged citizens in developing and implementing solutions for the toughest questions facing their community. Owensboro-Daviess (KY) County’s civic renewal was ignited by an AmericaSpeaks’ 21st Century Town Meeting® and sustained by citizen working groups. Years later, We the People boasts an impressive array of citizen-led action on key issues, and continues to develop community support for leaders working on change.
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Strengthening our Nations Democracy II. 100 advocates, scholars, federal managers and leaders in the democracy reform field came together to outline an agenda for improving our democracy. Inside you’ll find a comprehensive set of recommendations designed to strengthen our democracy by engaging all citizens in the selection of their leaders, influencing laws and regulations, and taking on.
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Volunteer Recruitment Goals and Strategies. AmericaSpeaks developed a tip sheet on Volunteer Recruitment Goals and Strategies.
Download PDF (362KB).
Transforming Governance Through Innovation. AmericaSpeaks 2008 Program Report, explores our innovative approaches to public participation, the leadership and collaborative action we have taken to help ensure that millions of people can be routinely involved in key government decisions, and more.
Download PDF (908KB)
Senior Agency Leaders’ Feedback to Open Government Directive. Senior leaders from 13 different federal agencies and departments made recommendations for the Open Government Directive. Participants identified what the directive must accomplish and what is needed for successful implementation.
Download PDF (4.69KB).
Where is Democracy Headed? This report is a collaborative document about public deliberation. The context comes from more than four years of discussions, research projects and interviews. The reports has input from more than 35 authors. The whole processes was organized by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) and supported by the Charles Kettering Foundation.
Download PDF (2.59MB).
Champions of Participation. Thirty-four managers from 23 different federal agencies and departments came together to develop recommendations for the President’s Open Government Directive. Read the ideas, barriers, and recommendations generated during the March event.
Executive Summary (PDF 594KB)
Report of Proceedings (PDF 6MB).
The Agenda for Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy. This report was developed by a diverse group of thinkers, advocates and academics, who came together from across the fields of electoral reform, deliberative democracy and community development. Together, we represent a vibrant emerging movement for a stronger democracy.
Download PDF (473 KB)
Public Impacts: Evaluating the outcomes of the CaliforniaSpeaks statewide conversation on health care reform. This report looks at the three independent evaluations conducted following the CaliforniaSpeaks statewide conversation and summarizes its impacts on participants, policy makers and the policy making process.
Download PDF (1 MB)
More Than the Vote. This article from Revitalizing Democracy by Joe Goldman and Stuart Comstock-Gay examines the deliberative democracy movement, the electoral reform movement, and why being a citizen should involve active participation in the governance process year round.
Read article here.
Deliberative Planning For Disaster Recovery: Remembering New Orleans. This article from the Journal of Public Deliberation reviews the social processes of deliberation, specifically by examining AmericaSpeaks’, Community Congress II in New Orleans.
Download PDF (363 KB)
report cover “This is Democracy in Action”, AmericaSpeaks 2007 Program Report, explores the role each of us can play to ensure citizen engagement becomes a routine embedded in America’s democracy. The report highlights three projects that prove revitalizing democracy in America is not just a possibility – it’s already happening.
Download PDF (2MB)
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report cover Designing for Democracy: A Wingspread Conference. This conference was created by AmericaSpeaks and sponsored by the Johnson Foundation and held to explore the ways pluralistic groups can work together in practicing a healthy democracy. What emerged were our Principles of a Healthy Democracy.
Download PDF (1.90 MB)
report cover Leveraging Philanthropy to Make Citizen Engagement Count explores the role foundations play in ensuring citizens have a seat at the table in decision making processes. Drawing from four case studies, this report identifies six principles of large scale citizen engagement and key lessons learned by leading philanthropies engaging in this work.
Download PDF (5.8 MB)
" " On the Road to National Discussions: Three Major Initiatives that Blaze the Trail summarizes lessons from three major public processes. Drawing from projects in New Orleans and Northeast Ohio and a national health care discussion, this guide describes key features of National Discussions and why they matter for democracy.
Download PDF (3.36 MB)
" " Public Deliberation: A Manager’s Guide to Citizen Deliberation: IBM’s Center for the Business of Government released a practical guide for federal managers written by AmericaSpeaks. The aim of the guide is help shape public involvement practices and deepen understanding of public deliberation at the federal level.
Download PDF (604 KB)
" " A case study of the Unified New Orleans Plan’s Community Congress written by Harvard scholar Abigail Williams. Provides and overview of the UNOP recovery planning process the way the public involvement strategy has rekindled support for a flagging recovery process.
Download PDF (637 KB)
" " Rebuilding New Orleans: A lively overview of the Unified New Orleans Plan Community Congress II that covers the basics of the process and outcomes. A good introduction to the interplay of participation and technology in action.
Download PDF (645 KB)
" " Millions of Voices: A Blueprint for Engaging the American Public in National Policy-Making Reflecting the collaborative thinking of 12 leaders in the citizen engagement field, Millions of Voices offers a plan for National Discussions that will engage more than one million Americans in substantive deliberations about public issues.
Download PDF (1.15 MB)
" " Engaging Citizens on the Tough Issues A 2005 snapshot of AmericaSpeak’s work to bring together diverse groups of citizens to deliberate on difficult issues, find common values, and reconcile conflicting viewpoints while holding decision-makers accountable for change.
Download PDF (850 KB)
" " Designing 21st Century Governance Mechanisms: In July 2006 AmericaSpeaks convened New Governance Mechanisms, an interdisciplinary meeting that produced concrete proposals for new national governance mechanisms.
Download PDF (4.93 MB)
" " Using Public Engagement to Inform the Future of Health Care in Maine: Talking About “Tough Choices” This article in Maine Policy Review, and the commentary that follows, discuss how nearly 400 Maine citizens were involved in a virtual town meeting in May 2005 that provided input on how to design a responsive healthcare system for Maine.
Download PDF (1.68 MB)
" " Taking Democracy to Scale: Large Scale Interventions—for Citizens This article for the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science reviews the AmericaSpeaks model for large group interventions followed by an examination of AmericaSpeaks’ intent to institutionalize the practice of national discussions on critical policy issues.
Download PDF (98.8 KB)
" " Taking Democracy to Scale: Creating a Town Hall Meeting for the 21st Century. This winter 2002 article in the National Civic Review by Carolyn Lukensmyer and Steve Brigham explains the 21st Century Town Meeting and AmericaSpeaks‘ pioneering efforts to engage large numbers of citizens in planning, budgeting, and agenda-setting discussions.
Download PDF (111 KB)

European citizens wrestled – in nine languages – with the implications of brain science policy to develop recommendations for the European Parliament. Meeting of the Minds showcased a new citizen deliberation method, advancing the European Union’s goal of greater public involvement in technological decision making and governance.