We are the only statewide organization dedicated to supporting the development and evidence-informed implementation of neighborhood democracy initiatives in Utah. We work to address the chronic lack of support that exists for neighborhood democracy initiatives – homeowners associations, community councils, long-term care facility resident committees, consumer and user advisory committees are just a few examples of the many types.
Neighborhood democracy initiatives are effective at getting informed, detailed input from residents to public decision-making bodies including city councils, zoning boards, school boards, and other decision-making bodies - this makes for more effective policy and can defuse controversies before they arise. Neighborhood democracy initiatives provide accessibility to participation for people who might not otherwise see themselves as participants in governmental processes or decision-making. A strong network of neighborhood democracy initiatives would create connections between leaders of different neighborhoods and communities that would create opportunities for them to work together on decisions or projects that affect local, regional, and statewide problems.
Neighborhood democracy initiatives give a much broader array of people a legitimate voice in public decisions made at the local and community levels. Most importantly, they provide a formally recognized community organizing vehicle.
This community organizing encourages the principles of pluralistic democracy – the organization of citizens into units capable of creating new centers of power – at a time when many feel there isn’t a clear pathway to address community problems. Neighborhood democracy initiatives are a source of community intelligence and data collection that provide critical linkages to systems for those served by them.
It is critical that neighborhood democracy initiatives succeed in Utah. A network of evidence-informed neighborhood democracy initiatives supported by our organization would strengthen civic engagement, promote democratic values, and encourage resident participation. Since neighborhood democracy initiatives are often composed of neighbors the citizenship requirements of voting are not as burdensome and provide a safe way for marginalized and underserved people to participate.
Neighborhood democracy initiatives are the strongest way to promote civic engagements for all Utahns. Our efforts will strengthen and sustain neighborhood democracy initiatives throughout the state.
About Neighborhood Democracy Initiatives