Cities, Technology and Democracy Study Group Session 3: From Potholes to Policies


Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

Baby in crowdUsing Technology to Increase Civic Engagement in Public Decision Making

Quinton Mayne, Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Tom Cosgrove, Co-Founder and Current Board Member, New Voice Strategies

About the Session
This interactive session will focus on ways that traditional organizing and mobilizing campaigns are incorporating digital strategies to increase engagement in the policy making process by both the public and interest groups. What are effective strategies to connect digital platforms with on-the-ground, face-to-face organizing? What are the challenges to engaging with local policy making in different sectors from education to conservation? The guest will be Tom Cosgrove, a message and communications strategist who has designed and implemented successful communications and grassroots campaigns for more than three decades.

Read the Challenges to Democracy blog post about this event

Suggested Reading
Information, Communication & Society, Networking Democracy? Social media innovations and participatory politics (Brian D. Loader and Dan Mercea): “A more cautious approach is suggested for the potential of social media to facilitate more participative democracy while acknowledging its disruptive value for challenging traditional interests and modes of communicative power.” [Harvard Access required]

About the Study Group
This event is the third in a four-part study group series, “Cities, Technology, and Democracy” organized by HKS student groups Tech4Change and the Regional, State, Local, Tribal (RSLT) Governance PIC, along with the Ash Center. Over the course of four sessions, the group will explore how new tools empower citizens and create “smart” cities. The study group will also discuss important challenges. For instance, will the expansion of data and technology really be accessible to everyone, or will some groups be left behind?

Session 1: Youth Participatory Budgeting in Boston with Archon Fung (February 19)

Session 2: The Responsive City with Susan Crawford (March 12)