Civic Engagement

Latest Stories

From a Prison Garden Sprouts Real Growth

6 min read

Amid rows of snap peas and summer squash, incarcerated gardeners cultivate job skills, inner peace and fresh produce for the cafeteria.

Keeping People Out of Jail Keeps People Out of Jail

8 min read

To reduce incarceration, some counties and cities have stopped automatically prosecuting minor nonviolent crimes — and crime overall has gone down. A wave of policy and policing reform has followed.

“Vaccine Ambassadors” Are Finding Toronto’s Hardest to Reach

5 min read

They’re regular folks who share the lived experience of those yet to be vaccinated.

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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