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City of Boulder Works to Better Engage Community

A look at progress to engage community in local government

It’s been almost two years since the city started an effort to improve community engagement in local government. While we still face some challenges, especially on more contentious projects, we’ve come a long way.

So far, the city has:

  • engaged with the community on more than 45 projects;
  • onboarded nine residents to help us create and conduct culturally appropriate outreach, leading to more participation by lower-income and non-English speaking community members;
  • piloted English and Spanish chats and walks with City Council;
  • launched two new engagement tools: Be Heard Boulder, an online town hall, and City Text Boulder, a text message communication pilot;
  • identified language gaps and started to develop strategies to address them, including a new Spanish language hub page;
  • trained more than 50 city staff members on engagement best practices;
  • collaborated with community members to explore concepts about what makes for good civic engagement – and what makes it so hard; and
  • taken public feedback to council, boards, commissions and city leadership prior to critical decisions.

Recently, our work together was recognized in a big way: In September, the International Association of Public Participation honored Boulder as the USA Organization of the Year for embracing and implementing a culture of meaningful and inclusive engagement. We were thrilled to have the chance to tell our story.

Remember to check out the city’s engagement website for opportunities to participate: We’d love to see you join our online engagement community or come to an in-person event.