Seeking innovation in public involvement
- Public involvement is an area of study and practice that seeks new ways for citizens to to become informed about, and contribute to, decisions and policies that affect them. I've led public-involvement initiatives that have resulted in structural changes in how citizens influence decisions of broad public importance, including the following:
- Citizen Panel on the City of Edmonton's budget priorities.
- Citizen Jury on whether online voting should be established for municipal elections, City of Edmonton.
- Citizen Panel to make recommendations on the City of Edmonton's Food and Agriculture Policy.
My ongoing research includes securing, with Dr. Mark Warren, funding to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the research and development project entitled, Participedia: A Global partnership to create and mobilize knowledge about democratic innovations ($4.589 million over four years).
I am a co-author, with Dr. Yuping Mao (Erasmus University) of “Deciding who will decide: Assessing random selection for participants in Edmonton’s Citizen Panel on budget priorities,” published in Canadian Public Administration/Administration publique du Canada 56(4), 610-37.
My book, co-edited with Dr. Mao, is entitled Handbook of research on citizen engagement and public participation in the era of new media, published by IGI Global (2017). You can read the Preface to the book, which appears below.
Centre for Public Involvement
In 2009, I co-founded the Centre for Public Involvement, a partnership between the City of Edmonton and the University of Alberta. The Centre carries out research in public involvement and demonstrates how innovation in public involvement can be put into practice. I developed the initial vision and operational plan for the Centre and led the selection of its first executive director and governing board. I served as the co-chair of the Centre's governing board and its research director, until 2014.