Lately Iâ€™ve been writing about civic infrastructure here.
Civic what now, you say? Donâ€™t worry; itâ€™s still a new term. If, however, youâ€™re seriously interested in dialogue, youâ€™ll want to know about civic infrastructure, as thereâ€™s a ton of buzz in the field about it these days.
Think of it this way. Every town or city needs physical infrastructure: roads, bridges, water mains, sewage lines, power transmission, etc. Similarly, every town or city needs civic infrastructure: Â community groups, meetings, activities, etc., that bring people together to address their challenges.
In other words, civic infrastructure brings people together for dialogue.
Thatâ€™s what happened with Columbia Parents for Public Schools (CPPS). Â The public schools in Columbia, Missouri, enjoyed a stellar reputation until the late 1990s, when that perception came under attack from several quarters. CPPS was founded to restore the schoolsâ€™ image and, as part of that, to foster dialogue among people across local constituencies. The resulting success has made CPPS a model of how civic infrastructure can enhance dialogueâ€”and, in the process, move a city forward.
You can read the full story on the blog of CommunityMatters, a partnership that equips cities and towns to re-create themselves, strengthen their places, and inspire change. Itâ€™s the first in a series Iâ€™ll be writing there about examples of this critical piece of creating dialogue. Have a look.