Empowered Participation: Reinventing Urban Democracy

Princeton University Press
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Every month in every neighborhood in Chicago, residents, teachers, school principals, and police officers gather to deliberate about how to improve their schools and make their streets safer. Residents of poor neighborhoods participate as much or more as those from wealthy ones. All voices are heard. Since the meetings began more than a dozen years ago, they have led not only to safer streets but also to surprising improvements in the city's schools. Chicago's police department and school system have become democratic urban institutions unlike any others in America.

Empowered Participation is the compelling chronicle of this unprecedented transformation. It is the first comprehensive empirical analysis of the ways in which participatory democracy can be used to effect social change. Using city-wide data and six neighborhood case studies, the book explores how determined Chicago residents, police officers, teachers, and community groups worked to banish crime and transform a failing city school system into a model for educational reform. The author's conclusion: Properly designed and implemented institutions of participatory democratic governance can spark citizen involvement that in turn generates innovative problem-solving and public action. Their participation makes organizations more fair and effective.


Though the book focuses on Chicago's municipal agencies, its lessons are applicable to many American cities. Its findings will prove useful not only in the fields of education and law enforcement, but also to sectors as diverse as environmental regulation, social service provision, and workforce development.

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About the author

Archon Fung is Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is the author, with Erik Olin Wright, of Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 2009
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781400835638
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / Local
Political Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST

An epic, riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster—and an anatomy of the austerity politics that continue to shape the world today

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Decisions about "who gets what, when, and how" are perhaps the most important that any government must make. So it should not be remarkable that around the world, public officials responsible for public budgeting are facing demands—from their own citizenry, other government officials, economic actors, and increasingly from international sources—to make their patterns of spending more transparent and their processes more participatory.

Surprisingly, rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of fiscal transparency is thin at best. Open Budgets seeks to fill this gap in existing knowledge by answering a few broad questions: How and why do improvements in fiscal transparency and participation come about? How are they sustained over time? When and how do increased fiscal transparency and participation lead to improved government responsiveness and accountability?

Contributors: Steven Friedman (Rhodes University/University of Johannesburg); Jorge Antonio Alves (Queens College, CUNY) and Patrick Heller (Brown University); Jong-sung You (University of California—San Diego) and Wonhee Lee (Hankyung National University); John M. Ackerman (National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexican Law Review); Aaron Schneider (University of Denver) and Annabella España-Najéra (California State University–Fresno); Barak D. Hoffman (Georgetown University); Jonathan Warren and Huong Nguyen (University of Washington); Linda Beck (University of Maine–Farmington and Columbia University), E. H. Seydou Nourou Toure (Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire), and Aliou Faye (Senegal Ministry of the Economy and Finance).

Decisions about "who gets what, when, and how" are perhaps the most important that any government must make. So it should not be remarkable that around the world, public officials responsible for public budgeting are facing demands—from their own citizenry, other government officials, economic actors, and increasingly from international sources—to make their patterns of spending more transparent and their processes more participatory.

Surprisingly, rigorous analysis of the causes and consequences of fiscal transparency is thin at best. Open Budgets seeks to fill this gap in existing knowledge by answering a few broad questions: How and why do improvements in fiscal transparency and participation come about? How are they sustained over time? When and how do increased fiscal transparency and participation lead to improved government responsiveness and accountability?

Contributors: Steven Friedman (Rhodes University/University of Johannesburg); Jorge Antonio Alves (Queens College, CUNY) and Patrick Heller (Brown University); Jong-sung You (University of California—San Diego) and Wonhee Lee (Hankyung National University); John M. Ackerman (National Autonomous University of Mexico and Mexican Law Review); Aaron Schneider (University of Denver) and Annabella España-Najéra (California State University–Fresno); Barak D. Hoffman (Georgetown University); Jonathan Warren and Huong Nguyen (University of Washington); Linda Beck (University of Maine–Farmington and Columbia University), E. H. Seydou Nourou Toure (Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire), and Aliou Faye (Senegal Ministry of the Economy and Finance).

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