From Confrontation to Cooperation: Citizen Engagement and Consensus Building in Public Policies
On both sides of the Atlantic, local jurisdictions have increasingly sought to engage the public through collaborative processes in the making and implementing of controversial policies. For European communities, where the processes of consensus-building and deliberative democracy are relatively new, the American experience provides some lessons.
As a CDP fellow, Iolanda Romano spent four months asking American mediators and facilitators how they face the challenges of participatory processes, with a particular focus on how their practices and outcomes relate to and influence decision-making processes in public policies. She also observed a number of public events that utilized these practices. In this brief, she describes the result of that effort and then puts forth a number of recommendations for her fellow mediators as well as for policymakers seeking to effectively engage the public.