Local Democracy

Repost from Tumblr

Two kind of contrasting views on community engagement or direct democracy. How do you find the balance between fully engaging with and empowering the people who have to live with political decisions, without yielding to the views of the people who shout the loudest and have the time and resources to show up to public consultations?

“It’s not always easy. There are lots of disagreements, but people have to learn to disagree civilly because in a small town you have to rely on one another.”

Rumble Strip via 99pi

We can’t all live in small communities where there is a social control of having to live with your neighbors day in and day out. That’s especially not good if you don’t fit in like you’re expected to. So how do you take the essence of a small town debate about waste collection or library funding and translate it to anonymous city life?

“Because participation in local politics, even at the ballot box, is extremely limited, elected officials are often swayed by just a handful of emails or phone calls in opposition to, for instance, a new apartment tower.”

The Atlantic

It can’t be by eradicating anonymity of the city. That’s part of what cities are. Opportunity to create something new. Can it be by creating villages within the city? Can it be by building infrastructures to get to know your neighbors, to share news about your neighborhood and how it fits into the city?

“Expanding opportunities for political participation failed to solve the problem of inequitable project distribution, because the fundamental problem wasn’t lack of community input; it was a lack of political power among disadvantaged groups. Making it easier for people to lodge their disagreements doesn’t change the distribution of power; it only amplifies the voices of people who already have it.”

The Atlantic