Civic Stewardship

Civic Stewardship: A community-led strategy for citywide wellbeing

Cities today are driving societal change at local, state, national, and global levels; and communities are elemental components of cities. How can we apply civic stewardship to foster vital communities and realize cities' potential for equity, creativity, and wellbeing?

Over the last 50 years, we have made little or no progress on many civic outcomes: Rates of poverty, drop-outs, disease, homelessness, and crime are about what they were in 1970; and this is particularly salient in distressed urban neighborhoods. An underlying cause is the persistent misalignment between institutional policies and programs on the one hand, and community needs, aspirations, and practices on the other.

Civic stewardship enables communities to join with institutions as equal partners to co-create and implement systemic solutions at neighborhood and citywide levels. It provides a platform of "stewardship capabilities" to promote civic innovation and collaboration. These capabilities include: leadership development, rigorous measures, communication technologies, participatory innovation, knowledge management, and results-based funding. 

We have launched an action-learning initiative in a Boston neighborhood to develop the approach and seed new initiatives with partners citywide. Given its potential impact on civic wellbeing, and the growing influence of cities worldwide, the time is ripe for transformative civic stewardship.

Civic Stewardship Initiative Overview (Bridging Communities) (Equity) (Health)
CSI Slide Presentation

Related publications and research                                                                        
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The Civic Stewardship Initiative provides consulting and action-research services to civic groups and to public, private, and non-profit organizations for community-led efforts that increase collective wellbeing in cities and regions.
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