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"Moving Forward: Developing our Community Today, for Tomorrow"

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Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as

Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as community building and development. Because of the former definition many members of our society have a tendency to not embrace the full potential of their community roles. It is always about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat, who looks better, or who has a better name. Now it must be noted that this is not in absolute, not all members of our society work in this thought process, but many still do. If that doesn't come as a surprise to you, then the simplicity of how you can be an engaged member will. As a student attending Arizona State University at the West campus in Phoenix, Arizona, I have chosen to challenge the traditional view of civic engagement and prepare this development plan for the campus community. Having done so, I not only discovered the paths that one can take to be engaged in such matters, but also continued my role as a civil servant.

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2015-05

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By the (Young) People: Youth Participatory Budgeting in Cluj-Napoca

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As a democratic innovation involving deliberation and decision making, participatory budgeting (PB) often catalyzes powerful changes among individual participants and within their respective communities. Certain models of PB designate autonomous spaces for young people to determine how to spend a

As a democratic innovation involving deliberation and decision making, participatory budgeting (PB) often catalyzes powerful changes among individual participants and within their respective communities. Certain models of PB designate autonomous spaces for young people to determine how to spend a portion of a particular budget, typically that of a municipality or school. These processes of youth PB may address recent trends in the underrepresentation of youth in civic spaces. Following the initial launch of youth participatory budgeting (youth PB) in Cluj (Romania), I spent three weeks in Cluj conducting 45 semi-structured interviews with youth PB participants and one focus group with youth PB facilitators. This thesis explores two areas: (a) the main dynamics of the online Cluj youth PB process (team development and organization, themes of projects proposed and their intended impacts, and inclusion throughout the process) and (b) impact of youth PB on participants (participant learning, change, and empowerment). Main findings suggest that organized groups with ongoing projects dominated the youth PB process and that a majority of projects aspired to impact either all residents of Cluj or a specific youth group (e.g. young artists, young engineers), while very few projects intended to impact young people in Cluj broadly. More than 85% of participants reported feeling empowered by involvement in youth PB. Some differences in learning and change were found by gender, ethnicity, and age. Key recommendations for future iterations of this process include establishing deliberation between teams, encouraging informal group development, restructuring the voting process, and enhancing inclusion of ethnic minorities and migrants.

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2016-05

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Why We Vote: Student Stories on Civic Engagement & Voting

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“Why We Vote” explores attitudes and rationales among college students regarding civic and voter engagement. The major tangible outcome of this project is a photo series displaying portraits of students paired with a short vignette about their voting or civic

“Why We Vote” explores attitudes and rationales among college students regarding civic and voter engagement. The major tangible outcome of this project is a photo series displaying portraits of students paired with a short vignette about their voting or civic engagement story. To diversify the series, we have engaged participants from a broad range of personal identities and civic engagement levels. We want to give visibility to the experiences of those who are commonly cast aside, especially in regard to civic and voting initiatives. Our project utilizes personal storytelling to spark dialogue about civic engagement,
particularly among the 18-24 age demographic. We chose to use storytelling as the primary medium for our project because it is a vehicle for empathy, a lacking component of modern civic life in the United States. It provokes students to think critically about how and why they engage in civic life and connect campus communities of students with common experiences. We are interested to see how our presence on campuses impacts the level and nature of their civic dialogue and how our findings are situated within our quantitative research.

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2020-05

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School Participatory Budgeting in Carson Junior High

Description

Participatory Budgeting (PB) can create changes within individuals and between them and their community. PB processes allow people to determine how to spend a portion of a particular budget (in the case of School PB, a portion of the school

Participatory Budgeting (PB) can create changes within individuals and between them and their community. PB processes allow people to determine how to spend a portion of a particular budget (in the case of School PB, a portion of the school budget). These processes help address the underrepresentation of youth in the realm of civics.

I spent time with the steering committee and teacher coordinator of school PB in Carson Junior High to explore the impact of school PB on students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices in relation to civic engagement. In the study I used quantitative and qualitative components. The participants were unique in that they all had prior experience in civic engagement programs in Carson Junior High that were organized by the teacher coordinator of school PB.

The main findings suggest that the participants reported a significant amount of learning in civic knowledge. In comparison, their overall perceived growth in attitudes, practices and skills were much lower. School PB helped the participants in the steering committee to grow in different ways than their other civic engagement programs by providing them with knowledge about budgets, their school’s mechanisms and other students within their school. They also became more familiar with the democratic process of voting and more comfortable with public speaking and presenting.

Recommendations for future research on this process include compiling quantitative and qualitative data from a larger sample consisting of students who had prior civic engagement experience and students who didn’t, and students with different ethnicities from different grades. Another recommendation for future research is to conduct a longitudinal study following school PB participants to high school and beyond to explore long-term impacts.

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2019-05

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Aligning public participation processes in urban development projects to the local context

Description

Public participation is considered an essential process for achieving sustainable urban development. Often, however, insufficient attention is paid to the design of public participation, and processes are formulaic. Then, participation may not match the local context of the

Public participation is considered an essential process for achieving sustainable urban development. Often, however, insufficient attention is paid to the design of public participation, and processes are formulaic. Then, participation may not match the local context of the communities within which a project is conducted. As a result, participation may become co-optative or coercive, stakeholders may lose trust, and outcomes may favor special interests or be unsustainable, among other shortcomings.

In this research, urban public participation is a collaborative decision-making process between residents, businesses, experts, public officials, and other stakeholders. When processes are not attuned with the local context (participant lifestyles, needs, interests, and capacities) misalignments between process and context arise around living conditions and personal circumstances, stakeholder trust, civic engagement, collaborative capacity, and sustainability literacy, among others.

This dissertation asks (1) what challenges arise when the public participation process does not match the local context, (2) what are key elements of public participation processes that are aligned with the local context, (3) what are ways to design public participation that align with specific local contexts, and (4) what societal qualities and conditions are necessary for meaningful participatory processes?

These questions are answered through four interrelated studies. Study 1 analyzes the current state of the problem by reviewing public participation processes and categorizing common misalignments with the local context. Study 2 envisions a future in which the problem is solved by identifying the features of well-aligned processes. Studies 3 and 4 test interventions for achieving the vision.

This dissertation presents a framework for analyzing the local context in urban development projects and designing public participation processes to meet this context. This work envisions public participation processes aligned with their local context, and it presents directives for designing deliberative decision-making processes for sustainable urban development. The dissertation applies a systems perspective to the social process of public participation, and it provides empirical support for theoretical debates on public participation while creating actionable knowledge for planners and practitioners.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Toward a Better Understanding of Complex Emergency Response Systems: An Event-Driven Lens for Integrating Formal and Volunteer-Based, Participatory Emergency Responses

Description

Traditionally, emergency response is in large part the role and responsibility of formal organizations. Advances in information technology enable amateurs or concerned publics to play a meaningful role in emergency response. Indeed, in recent catastrophic disasters or crises such as

Traditionally, emergency response is in large part the role and responsibility of formal organizations. Advances in information technology enable amateurs or concerned publics to play a meaningful role in emergency response. Indeed, in recent catastrophic disasters or crises such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan earthquake and nuclear crisis, participatory online groups of the general public from both across the globe and the affected areas made significant contributions to the effective response through crowdsourcing vital information and assisting with the allocation of needed resources. Thus, a more integrative lens is needed to understand the responses of various actors to catastrophic crises or disasters by taking into account not only formal organizations with legal responsibilities, but also volunteer-based, participatory groups who actively participate in emergency response. In this dissertation, I first developed an “event-driven” lens for integrating both formal and volunteer-based, participatory emergency responses on the basis of a comprehensive literature review (chapter 1). Then I conducted a deeper analysis of one aspect of the event-driven lens: relationships between participatory online groups and formal organizations in crisis or disaster situations. Specifically, I explored organizational and technical determinants and outcomes of forming such relationships (chapter 2). As a consequence, I found out three determinants (resource dependence, shared understanding, and information technology) and two outcomes (inter-organizational alignment and the effectiveness of coordinated emergency response) of the relationship between participatory online groups and formal organizations and suggested seven hypotheses. Furthermore, I empirically tested these hypotheses, focusing on the 2015 Nepal earthquake case (chapter 3). As a result, I found empirical evidence that supports that shared understanding and information technology improve the development of the relationship between participatory online groups and formal organizations. Moreover, research findings support that the development of the relationship enhances inter-organizational coordination. Lastly, I provide implications for future research (chapter 4). This dissertation is expected to contribute to bridging the disconnect between the emergency management literature and the crisis informatics literature. The theoretical insight from inter-organizational relations (IOR) theory provides another contribution.

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2016