January 12, 2012
Peter Comings, a Civic Commons volunteer and member of the Community Champion writes about looking forward to working with the Civic Commons to improve the civic engagement of his community and Northeast Ohio.
January 03, 2012
The Civic Commons' Dan Moulthrop leads a live discussion.View Image Gallery
Do you ever feel like you want to fix the world around you, but you don’t know where to begin? You might start at the Civic Commons -- your neighbors in the Trinity Commons complex -- who provide a set of free online and offline resources for citizens to take action to improve their communities.
The year-old start up is “a sort of virtual pub or coffee house, where citizens can gather, share ideas and information and forge a plan for action,” says Civic Commons President, Mike Shafarenko. “We also facilitate meetings, panel discussions and other engagement events in the brick and mortar world. The larger idea is to create a continuous method of civic engagement, where talk turns into action and democracy is re-imagined.”
Current conversations on the site range from a debate over the hidden costs of urban sprawl, to the Occupy Cleveland movement, to the controversy over commercial development of the Oakwood Country Club in University Heights.
If you’ve got a passion for an issue, you can go on theciviccommons.com and join an existing conversation or start your own conversation on a favorite topic. Once you join, you can bring friends, co-workers or classmates into the conversation, as you might on a social media site like Facebook. The site also has the capability of online voting and will soon have petition, meet-up and other tools that facilitate dialogue and action on key issues.
Among its accomplishments to date, the Civic Commons has teamed up with the City of Cleveland and its partners to bring citizen and stakeholder voices into the conversation about the re-development of the Flats. Under the Flats Forward initiative, citizens from Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority housing were able to bring their concerns about safety, access to grocery stores and proper sidewalks to the attention of business and municipal stakeholders in an open dialogue. Through community meetings, conversations and information-sharing on the Civic Commons, players who had previously been working independently or sometimes at cross-purposes came together and developed more productive working relationships. Over 360 individuals, representing diverse interests, participated in the engagement process.
As part of its broader mission to foster informed dialogue, the Civic Commons has been a partner in bringing the New Perspectives series on Muslim culture to the region, and facilitating events to improve our understanding of Arab culture here and in the Middle East. In December, author and historian Toby Jones spoke to a gathering at the Trinity Cathedral. Upcoming events in the series include a talk by Princeton Professor Amaney Jamal on February 10th at the Cleveland City Club, and in March, Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times Journalist, Anthony Shadid will share his thoughts and field questions. Check out the New Perspectives page on the Civic Commons for details as they emerge.
In Akron, the Civic Commons has partnered with AMATS (Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study) in an ongoing effort to engage with and better serve their constituents through panel discussions, events and online activity. The Commons has also helped to facilitate the Efficient Government Network's efforts to engage municipal leaders on the topic of collaboration as a means of reducing the cost of government services in the region.
If you’d like to learn more about the Civic Commons or its upcoming events, please visit theciviccommons.com, on Facebook or Twitter @civiccommons. If you need assistance getting started, please call Taryn Gress at 800-530-8507 ext. 8.
Daryl Rowland is the Manager of Marketing & Communications for the Civic Commons.
December 05, 2011
The Civic Commons will sponsor a Mobile Town Hall meeting with State Senator Nina Turner at Shaker Heights library December 6, 2011.
November 02, 2011
The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) and The Civic Commons are teaming up to give the public a greater voice in the transportation planning process. AMATS has received 11 applications for its Connecting Communities Planning Grant and wants to give the public a chance to review the applications and vote on which proposals they think deserve to be funded.
“We felt that the time was right to tap into the opportunities available through today’s social media to give people a chance to be active participants in the selection process rather than learn about decisions well after they’ve been made,” AMATS Mobility Planner Heather Davis Reidl comments.
October 28, 2011
CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and the Civic Commons are teaming up on a social innovation competition in order to increase civic engagement among local residents.
A kick-off party is planned for the Challenge Cuyahoga Competition at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2011 at Legation, a Gallery, 78th Street Studios, at 1300 W. 78th St. in Cleveland. The annual theme and ground rules for the year-long competition will be announced at the event. Tickets are only $10, and registration is available at www.challengecuyahoga.eventbrite.com.
Challenge Cuyahoga is a social innovation competition that surfaces and supports innovative citizen-based projects to address challenges and opportunities related to Cuyahoga County’s progress. Winners will receive seed money for their projects through a combination of crowd-sourced fundraising and institutional matching funds.