The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) has released a new paper from Brittany Andrew-Amofah, Alexandra Flynn and Patricia Wood setting out a path to make municipal governance more democratic, accountable, and inclusive. The authors argue that municipalities need to incorporate social equity and explicit race-based lenses into their decision-making and reimagine governance practices.
Their recommendations for better public participation include:
- Introducing high standards for public engagement with inclusivity benchmarks and accountability measures;
- Having methods for the public to set the agenda other than through councillors, such as neighbourhood governance structures;
- Designing consultation for dialogue, going beyond merely informing the community, and strategizing to defuse conflict and encourage listening;
- Going where people are through ‘pop-up’ consultations at public markets, libraries, coffee shops, and midnight basketball games; and
- Ensuring accessibility to allow for meaningful inclusion by holding evening meetings with meals and childcare, and providing stipends to stakeholders who are otherwise unrepresented.