Lunchtime Study Group: Co-Creating Local Government Session 1: Meeting People Where They Are


Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


WexG02 Seminar Room, Harvard Kennedy School

Join us for the inaugural session of the fall semester student study group, Co-Creating Local Government. This session will explore lessons from the Somerville experience about how to engage residents in local government drawing on the experiences of SomerViva and adapting to public meetings during the pandemic.

Guest speaker: Irma Flores, SomerViva Liaison

Register here

Required Reading for This Session 

  1. Somerville’s SomerViva program engages immigrant communities. Massachusetts Municipal Association. Mass Innovations, From the Beacon, January 2015.
  2. SomerVision 2040. Equity. City of Somerville. 2019.

About the Study Group 

What does good democracy look like in action at the local level? How do you create trust and credibility and build engagement in a community in an era of lack of trust in government? This fall Joe Curtatone, who was Mayor of Somerville for 18 years, and Kristen Stelljes, former Somervile SomerStat Director and COVID Incident Commander, will lead a five session study group that will seek to answer these questions. Drawing on their experiences in Somerville, Joe and Kristen will encourage lively debate and discussion about the role of local governments and residents. From the perspective of an elected official and a public servant, they will also share stories and examples of how the ideals of good government and public participation can be put into action. To foster active engagement, participation will be capped at 20. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00pm from September 21 to October 19. 

In order to help foster a stronger sense of community amongst study group attendees, we ask that students commit to participating in most if not all of the scheduled study group sessions.

Please note that this-in person study group is open to Harvard ID holders only.

Lunch will be provided. 

Register for Future Sessions