Civic Engagement

Latest Stories

Would You Dine in This Prison?

4 min read

At the Clink, incarcerated chefs and waiters serve world-class cuisine to the public — and prepare for life on the outside.

Could a Citizens’ Assembly Help Fix Your Democracy?

6 min read

Allowing randomly selected people to influence government policies has promise — and limitations.

‘Vaccine Altruists’ Are Finding Appointments for Strangers

4 min read

For those who don’t have the time or computer savvy to scour the internet, a volunteer movement is emerging.

Inside the L.A.P.D.’s Experiment in Trust-Based Policing

5 min read

Can the notoriously hardline force become an ally to Black communities?

Look What I Got!

5 min read

New Zealand improved recycling rates by awarding shiny gold stars, showing that social approval can be a more powerful motivator than money.

New Zealand Is Infusing Policing With a Social Work Philosophy

6 min read

Nimble, culturally nuanced and collaborative, this Māori-led response gets to the roots of family violence.

Strangers Are Welcoming People Released from Prison into Their Homes

4 min read

Skeptical at first, participants on both sides now see a solution that benefits everyone.

Oregon’s New Hard Drugs Policy Is Both Radical and Sane

6 min read

Legal magic mushrooms? Tolerance for heroin and meth? It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

The Right Way to Topple a Statue

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How one Canadian city took down a monument to an iconic leader in a way that brought its residents closer together.

Botswana’s Radical Experiment in National Unity

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By forcing workers to move far from home and live with unfamiliar people, the government is testing the limits of identity.

A Tool for Understanding

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What if, instead of hating each other’s beliefs, we learned more about where they come from?

When Racism Strikes, Here’s How to Record It

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Not every racist act fits a police report, but capturing the data on everyday racism is key to creating change.

Why Kindness Is a Winning Campaign Tactic

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Amid all the mudslinging is a proven fact: Civility wins the hearts of voters.

Cops and Community Organizers Are Reimagining Atlanta’s Jail

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An unlikely collaboration could transform a place of imprisonment into a center for equity.

How Can I Convince You?

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In the first in a series of interviews with Stanford polarization researchers, Robb Willer explains how to persuade someone they agree with you – whether they know it or not.

Are You Liberal? Are You Sure?

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A growing body of research suggests our political beliefs are flexible – and that we may be more capable of understanding the other side than we realize.

The Unlikely Friendship that Helped Legalize Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland

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In Ireland, 100 private citizens advise parliament on policy. Two of them changed each other’s lives — and, perhaps, their country’s constitution.

Muslim Voters Are Finding Their Voice

4 min read

Rockstar candidates, get-out-the-vote drives and mosques with polling stations are changing the political fortunes for a long-underrepresented faith group.

We Know How to Fix the Police

8 min read

The data proves that regulating police behavior results in fewer killings of civilians.

How a Bronx Community Is Winning the Census

6 min read

Co-Op City was built as a grand experiment in social-justice housing. Fifty years later, its civic values are paying off.

How a Group of Political Novices Ended Gerrymandering in Michigan

4 min read

Their success proves that you don’t need political power — or a Supreme Court majority — to get fair congressional districts.

Utah Has Perfected Social-Distance Voting

6 min read

Americans may find themselves following the state’s stay-at-home playbook in this year’s presidential election.

There’s a Better Way to Vote

6 min read
As America’s primary elections stumble along, a fairer method of picking who runs the country is gaining ground.

The Coronavirus-Proof Nation

4 min read

Taiwan has built a pragmatic, solutions-oriented society where democracy is expected to deliver results. Amid the pandemic, it’s paying off.

The Beautiful Place that Stopped Big Bottled Water

6 min read

As Washington State moves to ban companies from selling its spring water, the story of Hood River County shows how even a small place can stop the extraction of its most precious resource.

How South Africa Ended Its Secret Births

7 min read

A country where many parents once hid their children’s existence from the government has achieved something once thought impossible: universal birth registration.

Is It Okay to Copy China?

9 min read

A country that opposes human rights and democracy is also coming up with some smart solutions. Can we emulate the good without endorsing the bad?

Reforesting the Ocean

5 min read

Recently, Australian scientists proved something we once thought impossible: we can regrow the ocean forests we’ve destroyed. Now they’ve set their sights on a tougher challenge… and they can’t do it alone.

Changing Behavior: Economic Incentives

6 min read

Mexico’s tax on sugary drinks will save thousands of lives and millions of dollars. Ahhh… sweet social change.

This Lake Belongs to Everyone

5 min read

A city on Lake Erie convinced its waterfront property owners to give the public their waterfronts for free. It’s a case that could transform the Great Lakes forever.

Our Bicycle Future

5 min read

At the Bicycle Architecture Biennale, spacious parking garages and elegant water crossings point the way to a two-wheeled utopia.

Treating Loneliness as a Medical Condition

2 min read

When a small-town clinic in England started prescribing human connection to its lonely patients, rates of chats over coffee increased—and hospital visits fell.

Can We Change Our Behavior or are We Stuck?

5 min read

Our future survival may depend on our ability to adopt more selfless habits. One city has proven we can do it.

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