HKS Affiliated Authors

Director, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government
Director, Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University
Emma Bloomberg Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management

Additional Authors:

  • Hollie Gilman
  • Gaylen Moore


May 23, 2023, Book: "But it is more essential than ever for city leaders to strengthen the relationship between government and residents, to tap into the expertise and creativity in their communities, to mobilize the capacity needed, and to live up to one of the fundamental values of democracy: equitable participation. [...] Based on their suggestions, the Genesee County Land Bank and the city launched the Flint Property Portal, enabling residents, city and Land Bank staff, and community organizations to look up and contribute to user- generated information about properties and view data held by both the city and the Land Bank.30 The city and the Land Bank used data collected through the Portal to inform planning and. [...] Local organizations played an active role in using and promoting the Portal, and city and Land Bank representatives shared user guides and hands-on support and demonstrations at community and neighborhood events.32 The city and the Land Bank used data collected through the Portal to carry out their day-to-day work as well as to inform planning and decision-making.33 24 .. [...] When climate disasters, failing infrastructure, and COVID-19 tested the city, the JPA’s efforts to support the community broadened the base of residents engaged with the Assembly and heightened residents’ awareness of systemic failures and inequity, as well as their own individual and collective agency to push for more equity and accountability. [...] How important is this subject of engagement (e.g., a dangerous intersection, the future of the riverfront, etc.) to residents and why? How important is the subject to city officials and why? How has the engagement subject been discussed and resolved (or not) in the past? Do you hope to change the terms of the debate? If so, how will you frame the subject to Questions accomplish that?"