Public Engagement

Strong, ongoing connections and engagement between residents, robust relationships between people and institutions, accessible information on public issues and positive attachments between citizens and the places they live are highly correlated with a range of positive outcomes, from increased public health to greater K-12 student success to resilience in the face of natural disasters.

Public Agenda provides insights and tools to help partners productively address conflict, transform unworkable processes and maximize the many benefits of public participation. We lead a process of discovery to leverage engagement strengths and weaknesses within organizations and governments, with an emphasis on developing sustainable strategies for long-term success. Our objective with partners is to build systems of engagement and create stronger infrastructure that advance stable democratic decision making and progress.

Our approach to public engagement is effective for specific projects and wider systemic challenges:
  • Navigating legal frameworks and compliance
  • Breaking policy deadlocks
  • Amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities 
  • Facilitating collaboration between governments, school systems, businesses, non-profit organizations, foundations, universities, and other stakeholders 
  • Building quantifiable, long-term impact on social indicators, from safety to poverty to health


Mapping Engagement Assets

The City Engagement Scan can help leaders develop more coherent, cross-sector knowledge and strategies for improving the health of local democracy, so that it serves residents in more equitable and effective ways. It is designed to help people understand what’s happening, what’s working, and what’s needed. The Scan is a systematic methodology, based on Public Agenda’s prior work focusing on six central elements for understanding the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for community engagement.

Engage Residents at Scale

Public Agenda leads deliberative discussions that combine face-to-face and digital tools to help strengthen relationships, increase issue awareness, examine policy and inform collective decision making at scale. Digital platforms can be used alongside in-person engagement or as separate tools to facilitate large-scale efforts at the state or national level. Text, Talk, Engage (TTE), one of Public Agenda’s signature engagement tools, combines text-based discussion and small-group conversation to engage diverse parties and members of communities at the topic level.

Case Studies