Our Toolbox includes handbooks, guides, digital and mapping toolkits, and similar resources designed to help in step-by-step practice in various areas of civic engagement, public problem solving, consensus building, and collaboration. Most are directly relevant to those areas covered within CivicGreen, while some are more general but may also have application in these areas.

As in a carpenter’s toolbox, some tools are better for some uses than others. Some are state-of-the art, while others may need updating but still can help jerry rig a workable solution. Some, of course, may be truly outdated, because social and ecological complexity have far outrun our wrenches and sprockets, and because values of equity, inclusion, and environmental justice require that we think outside the usual democratic toolbox.

Good carpenters mix and match, working with existing materials, workmates, resources, and time constraints, even as they try to craft something workable for now. All learn from imperfections as they hone their skill and sometimes invent new tools. We hope to expand and refine this initial toolbox as we learn from our readers and partners. Some of the references in other sections also include tools, paired with a discussion of usefulness, appropriateness, and limits.

We welcome suggestions at

For full reviews and short annotations of scholarly books, also see our Bookshelf.


For a basic Theory Toolbox, see Civic and Green Innovation in Democratic Theory: Core Concepts.

CivicGreen is premised on enabling civic innovations that enhance our capacities for sustainable, resilient, and just communities and that enrich core democratic values and institutions. In this essay, we clarify relevant concepts within democratic theory, broadly defined, that help to shape innovations on the ground and that remain open to continual refinement and feedback from community and institutional practice. Our aim here is a relatively succinct and straightforward presentation of some key concepts and how they might be combined fruitfully. Thus, we simplify ideas that have very complex arguments among proponents and critics; we do not try to settle these in any definitive sense. The core concepts each have a one-page summary.

They include deliberative democracy, social capital, assets-based community development, coproduction and public work, democratic professionalism, policy for democracy, collaborative governance, and social movements. Theory essay.


Here we include handbooks and guides that provide insight into various methods of civic engagement and public participation, compare and contrast them, and suggest criteria for choosing among them.

Tina Nabatchi and Matt Leighninger, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy (Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, 2015). Order info.

A terrific overview of diverse forms, terminologies, and rationales for public participation. The core chapters focus on four arenas: planning and land use, state and local government, health, and education. The book grounds current forms in a brief but thoughtful discussion of the history of participation in the U.S., and considers future options. The writing is clear and succinct, and the tables and chapter subheads are most useful in the classroom, in the community, and in professional training programs. Extensive bibliography for the novice and the expert. A wonderful resource.

John Gastil and Peter Levine, eds., The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005). Order info.

This edited handbook is especially broad in scope and clear in presentation, yet well-grounded in democratic theory. Part One has essays that provide historical and contemporary context for American politics, although the other chapters are not limited to the U.S. Part Two analyzes core deliberative forms common to the field: National Issues Forums, public journalism, deliberative polling, citizens jury, consensus conferences, and combinations among deliberative forms. Part Three presents the 21st Century Town Meeting, online dialogues within government agencies, collaborative learning within national forest planning and stewardship, and other forms. Part Four considers study circles and other innovations, including the need for dynamic updating. The concluding chapter analyzes consistent and promising findings, as well as persistent challenges and questions for further research. A terrific resource that is unusual in its combination of fine-grained attention to practice and its sophisticated theorizing.

André Bächtiger, John S. Dryzek, Jane J. Mansbridge, and Mark Warren, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2018). Order info.

Indispensable handbook for scholars and researchers on the central concept of deliberative democracy, as well as its many variations and applications. Chapters include the relation of deliberation to justice, equality, representation, and multiculturalism, as well as the many forms and settings in which deliberation occurs, such as the media, everyday talk, online communication, social movements, governance networks, planning, science, policy analysis, and negotiated dispute settlement. Through its first and second generations of theorists, this handbook establishes deliberative democracy as an approach capable of robust learning from critics and addressing the complexity and configuration of deliberative settings. Thorough overviews and probing analyses, but not for the faint of heart.

Assets-based community development (ABCD)

Here we include handbooks that can inform ABCD practice, which focuses on building upon assets that exist in communities, rather than upon their deficits. This approach does not exclude independent and sometimes contentious organizing or claims upon government and other actors for resources and assistance, but it keeps a focus on assets that communities themselves can mobilize, such as land, buildings, skills, culture, relationships, local institutions, and natural capital.

John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets (Chicago: ACTA Publications, 1993). Order info.

This is the classic text that originally presented the assets-based community development (ABCD) approach in a form that could be widely applied in communities in the U.S. and around the world. The ABCD framework emphasizes mapping the strengths and assets that communities can build upon rather than seeing them primarily through a “deficits” lens. It has had a profound effect on community development programs, healthy communities work, youth development, and sustainable communities and environmental justice practice. It has also helped transform graduate training in many of these and related fields, such as social work.

Gary Paul Green and Anna L. Haines, Asset Building and Community Development. Fourth edition (Los Angeles: SAGE 2016). Order info.

This guide provides a wonderful introduction to the assets-based framework, set in the context of the history of the community development field in America. It examines community development processes and community-based organizations, especially in areas related to sustainability, natural disasters, and climate change. It anchors these with chapters on core concepts: human capital, social capital, physical capital, financial capital, political capital, environmental capital, and cultural capital. A clear and comprehensive overview suitable for practitioners as well as for teaching, with summary sections on key concepts, exercises, references, and other resources.

Citizen Science

Everyday citizens, school students, Audubon birders, community groups, and other lay actors are increasingly partnering with professionally trained scientists to collect and analyze data, much of it critical for ecological and community health, and much of it useful for stewardship in the face of climate and related threats.

Christopher A. Lepczyk, Owen D. Boyle, and Timothy L. V. Vargo, eds., Handbook of Citizen Science in Ecology and Conservation (Oakland: University of California Press, 2020). Order info.

Truly one of the outstanding handbooks for organizing complex civic work, in this case among citizens and scientists in a broad range of ecological and conservation settings. The chapters are crafted with extraordinary care and clarity and give due attention to virtually every aspect of recruiting, motivating, and retaining lay contributors and partners; collecting, managing and visualizing data; and communicating results to broader publics. The book represents a model of democratic professional knowledge and practice that can further build the institutional capacities of this critically important field. It includes contributions from leading practitioners situated in an array of settings:  university departments, Extension Services, natural resource, park and wildlife agencies, local, regional, and national associations and conservancies. The volume is exceptionally coherent and comprehensive and avoids the typical pitfalls of many edited collections.

Climate Action Planning

Michael R. Boswell, Adrienne I. Greve, and Tammy L. Seale, Climate Action Planning: A Guide to Creating Low-Carbon, Resilient Communities. Revised edition (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2019). Order info.

This detailed guide takes readers through a wide range of steps for developing climate action plans and implementation strategies at the city level and across multiple sectors. The authors build upon a vast range of experience in California cities (especially from PlaceWorks), as well as their academic knowledge of global cities. They provide step-by-step guidance on building teams, sequencing actions, developing technical reports, and enlisting partners. They pay special attention to the range of ways in which citizens and stakeholders can participate, as well as to the public communication and education strategies that address skeptics and highlight co-benefits. They have a keen understanding that the legitimacy of the climate action planning processes depends on a good mix of participation tools and forums. Tables, lists, and figures make for ease of use.

California Environmental Justice Alliance and PlaceWorks, SB 100 Implementation Toolkit (September 2017). Available online.

Under SB 1000: The Planning for Healthy Communities Act, California cities and counties are required to adopt an Environmental Justice element, or integrate EJ-related policies, objectives, and goals throughout other elements of their General Plan. The bill also includes a process for communities to become meaningfully involved in the decision-making processes that govern land use planning in their neighborhoods. This toolkit, prepared collaboratively by the California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) and PlaceWorks, is a guidance document intended for local governments, planners, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders who will be working to develop an Environmental Justice Element or a set of environmental justice policies for their General Plans to meet the requirements of SB 1000.

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Adaptation Planning Guide (June 2020). Available online.

This adaptation planning guide, prepared in consultation with PlaceWorks, provides a phase-by-phase guide for assessing vulnerability and adaptive capacity, developing vision and strategy, and including community outreach and engagement. It includes examples from multiple sectors, such as agriculture, emergency management, land use, coastal, parks, public health, transportation and more.

Stephen R.J. Sheppard, Visualizing Climate Change: A Guide to Visual Communication of Climate Change and Developing Local Solutions (Washington, DC: Routledge, 2012). Order info.

This beautiful book serves as a guide to visualize climate change in our communities, its potential to disrupt places we love and depend on, as well as how we might use visualization techniques to engage publics to transform them. The author provides numerous photographs, 3D and 4D visualization techniques, and other visuals for community presentations, deliberations, and campaigns. These provide a good basis for scenario workshops as well as community narrative that empowers ordinary citizens. The potential use of such visualization tools for community dialogue, environmental education in schools and colleges, and collaborative planning is enormous and should be an area of significant public investment and foundation support.

Climate and Science Communication

Faith Kearns, Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2021). Order info.

Written from the perspective of a Ph.D. scientist with two decades of experience as a practitioner in the growing professional field of science communication, this very readable book gets to the heart of several issues key to our capacity to understand and act upon climate and ecological knowledge. Kearns gets to the heart by including the emotions of communities, as well as of scientists, in how we can engage issues together that are complex yet terrifyingly real, and that can foster despair but also inspire hope. Her approach is profoundly relational in the best sense of much community organizing, feminist, Indigenous, and collaborative governance work.

She also gets to the heart by focusing on the core group of practitioners who are not tenured research scientists invited to prestigious media outlets to comment authoritatively about the latest climate report or disaster, but who work on much more vulnerable terrain where community anger and institutional power might be directed at them. Through the stories of professionals in the field, Kearns clarifies a range of tools of science communication that can enhance civic capacity for resilient and just communities: relating, listening, working with conflict, and understanding trauma.  Many practitioners work through Cooperative Extension in land-grant and sea-grant universities. One policy takeaway suggests itself: if we are to get through the climate crisis as a vibrant civic and democratic culture over the next several decades, we should invest very substantially in building the relational capacities for science communication of Cooperative Extension.

Nancy Baron, Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2010). Order info.

This very accessible guide summarizes the training workshops and techniques of COMPASS for enabling scientists to develop communication frames and strategies for individual and collective action, including partnerships with community groups and public agencies, as well as policy advocacy and online campaigns. It offers hands-on advice for preparing for interviews with the press and policymakers, fine-tuning skills for radio and television, developing blogs and podcasts, entering the political fray and managing backlash, and presenting potential solutions and not just problems. But the guide goes beyond technique to help scientists cultivate a passion and identity as a civic professional committed to engaging diverse audiences in the public sphere. A wonderful window on how science can be wedded to democracy.

Coastal Protection and Restoration

The depth and breadth of volunteer monitoring, as well as scientific, economic, and digital tools produced by public agencies, national environmental organizations, universities, and local citizen science and stewardship groups, will become ever more relevant in the face of sea level rise and climate change.

Ronald L. Ohrel Jr. and Kathleen M. Register, Voluntary Estuary Monitoring: A Methods Manual, second edition (Washington, DC: Ocean Conservancy, 2006). 396 pages. Available online.

Developed in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy (with EPA funding) and several hundred local groups, this methods manual covers all manner of project planning, organizing volunteers, managing safety, and testing the broadest spectrum of nutrients, oxygen, toxins, alkalinity, temperature, salinity, turbidity, bacteria, submerged aquatic vegetation, and other living organisms – each has a chapter. The second iteration of the manual is built upon a meticulous combination of technical knowledge and civic practice represented by EPA’s collaborative work with some of these organizations and their local partners in the National Estuary Program.

Office of Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Digital Coast.  Online resource.

This online digital toolkit includes economic, land cover, and satellite tools, a Sea Level Rise Viewer and Land Cover Atlas to enable coastal communities to plan more effectively and transparently. The data partnership of Digital Coast includes a very broad array of civic associations and nonprofits, local and state governments, academia and tribes, and private organizations that contribute many other tools. Perhaps the most ambitious attempt yet to aggregate such as wide variety of relevant tools on one site.

Community Design, Public Interest Design

Design professionals can engage ordinary residents and diverse stakeholders in the process of design, from neighborhoods to major public buildings and spaces, as well as rebuilding in response to disasters.

Lisa M. Abendroth and Bryan Bell, eds., Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook: SEED Methodology, Case Studies, and Critical Issues (New York: Routledge, 2016). Order info.

This guidebook includes a discussion of public interest design as this has emerged in the SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) Network. SEED focuses on robust, healthy, playful, equitable, green, and resilient communities, especially among those neighborhoods that cannot typically afford architects. Community engagement and democratic participation are at the heart of the SEED methodology, including a range of practices from community charrettes, storytelling, and photo/video ethnographies to asset-based development and the local comprehensive plan. Includes U.S. and global case studies and photos.

Lisa M. Abendroth and Bryan Bell, eds., Public Interest Design Education Guidebook: Curricula, Strategies, and SEED Academic Case Studies (New York: Routledge, 2019). Order info.

This substantial guidebook provides core rationales for public interest design and an array of resources to enrich pedagogy and practice. The first section includes curricula from eight schools of design, landscape architecture, and fine arts by those who have developed and implemented them. Other sections include fundamental skills, intercultural competencies, field experience, evaluation of student learning, case studies, and civic engagement practices and fellowships. Emergent from the SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) Network, this is an essential resource for transforming professional training and fostering a deeply practice-based democratic professionalism . A model resource for higher education.

Bill Lennertz and Aarin Lutzenhiser. The Charrette Handbook: The Essential Guide to Design-Based Public Involvement. Second edition (New York: Routledge, 2014). Order info.

A very clear and eminently useful handbook from the National Charrette Institute that provides detailed step-by-step guidance on planning and conducting charrettes, with sample checklists and worksheets. Topics include charrette planning and research, outreach and stakeholder analysis, stakeholder and public meetings, developing a vision and alternative concepts, site tours and project management. Also includes a history of the charrette process and variations among organizations in the field.

David de la Peña, Diane Jones Allen, Randolph T. Hester Jr, Jeffrey Hou, Laura J. Lawson, and Marcia J. McNally, eds., Design as Democracy: Techniques for Collective Creativity (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2017). Order info.

This self-described cookbook of recipes, techniques, stories, games, and apps from the U.S. and around the world seeks to renew participatory design to help unleash creativity and redistribute power. Inspired by a deep sense of place, relationship, and local knowledge, it is intended for use in academic, professional, grassroots, and youth contexts, and is filled with wonderful photographs, drawings, and worksheets.

Kathy Madden, Fred Kent, and Steve Davies, How to Turn a Place Around: A Placemaking Handbook, revised edition(New York: Project for Public Spaces, 2021). Order info.

This beautifully designed handbook draws upon the lessons of more than four decades of work in the U.S. and around the world by the Project for Public Spaces. Key principles of engaging community users and stakeholders, as well as core attributes of diverse, lively, walkable, and sittable public squares and parks, are presented clearly, with ample diagrams, checklists, photos, and techniques. Design is civic in creation, tapping the knowledge of “the zealous nut” as well as the community development group, but it is also civic in feedback, further encouraging everyday conversations and dedicated stewardship as a result of relational, playful, and aesthetic space once built. A usable treasure that builds upon pioneers such as Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte.

Aaron Welch, Kaid Benfield, and Matt Raimi, A Citizen’s Guide to LEED for Neighborhood Development: How to Tell if Development is Smart and Green. Order info.

Jointly developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Congress for the New Urbanism, with assistance from other land use and smart growth organizations across the field. LEED-ND has become an important tool in the green building toolkit administered by the USGBC and extends green building concepts across entire neighborhoods and, in the more recent LEED for Cities and Communities, to entire cities and towns. Designed to empower citizens with basic concepts, as well as to map key avenues and opportunities for them to shape public choices, it is written in plain English and covers a wide array of areas: civic and public spaces, green building, transportation, green infrastructure, street connections and pathways, public health, housing, and equity and social justice. Includes an extensive but clear and well-organized checklist. A complementary guide for local government is also available.

Community gardens, food networks

Community gardens have been key to local empowerment, healthy eating, and food justice, as have been various other forms of food security, farm networks, and community supported agriculture.

LaManda Joy, Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2014). Order info.

Recommended by the American Community Gardening Association, this guide provides a clear and comprehensive step-by-step process for organizing a community garden in neighborhoods, schools, private workplaces, and public institutions. The author draws upon the assets-based community development (ABCD) framework, as well as diverse case studies from the U.S and Canada. The guide can serve beginners to the organizing process, as well as those who already have experience in organizing and leadership. It covers mission development, meeting process, team building, recruitment of volunteers, financing, nonprofit status, memoranda of understanding (MOUs), design charrettes, construction, growing basic vegetables, community celebrations, access to land, soil, water, tools, and much more.

Ken Meter, Building Community Food Webs (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2021). Order info.

While rooted in a strong critique of the American and global food system that systematically extracts wealth from rural communities, this book utilizes the stories of reconstructive work by farm networks across the U.S. to anchor pragmatic strategies. Cases are drawn from Black southern cooperatives, rural Montana sustainable farming networks, a Hawaiian farmer training program, a community food bank in Southern Arizona, and various partnerships in Ohio, Indiana, and Minnesota. The author, who has followed community food security movements closely over several decades and has served in various advisory roles, places stress on building viable networks of trust and collaboration among diverse market, state, and nonprofit actors in the interests of equity and inclusion. An inspiring read.

Community Visioning

Visioning has become an important process that communities, as well as many kinds of organizations, have come to utilize in considering where they want to be over the next decade or more, and then beginning to sketch alternative ways of enlisting actors and mobilizing assets to get there. Community visioning might include an entire city and range across all the major areas of potential development, or it might be more restricted in scope. Multi-stakeholder and inclusive participation has become a core norm of visioning processes.

National Civic League, Community Visioning and Strategic Planning Handbook (Denver, CO: NCL, 2000). Order info.

One of the most utilized handbooks for developing an inclusive community visioning project among diverse groups of stakeholders. It was developed initially by Derek Okubo and is based on years of practice in the many communities in which NCL has worked, as well as among those hundreds of city contestants and finalists in NCL’s annual All-America City Awards. It takes readers through early planning stages, community outreach, assessing civic infrastructure, visioning process, action planning, and implementation. 55 pages, provided free to members of the National Civic League, or $15 for nonmembers.

Disaster Response and Resilience

Building civic capacity and social capital is increasingly stressed in disaster and resilience studies. Its becomes ever-more important in the face of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and heat waves, and is central to ensuring diverse voices, equitable strategies, and collaborative work.

Institute of Medicine, Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Communities after Disasters: Strategies, Opportunities, and Planning for Recovery (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2015). Order info.

This “action guide” was developed by the Institute’s Committee on Post-Disaster Recovery of a Community’s Public Health, Medical, and Social Services. Its perspective is anchored in an understanding of a “healthy community” as one that draws collaboratively upon local knowledge as well as professional expertise and that engages and empowers ordinary residents and civic associations. Drawing upon multidisciplinary expertise and the sponsorship of relevant offices at the federal departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the chapters aim for holistic, integrative, and equitable approaches from all sectors of the community and all levels of the federal system. Topics include healthy housing, public health, health care systems and mental health, mobilizing resources to respond to disasters, place-based and relational strategies, and developing a healthy community vision and forms of public engagement to guide recovery and resilience. A very carefully prepared, broadly vetted, and comprehensive, yet clear and accessible, toolkit.

AARP with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Disaster Resilience Toolkit: A guide to how local leaders can reduce risk and better protect older adults (Washington, DC: AARP, 2022). Available online.

This toolkit was developed by the Livable Communities program at AARP, in collaboration with FEMA, as part of its strategy to increase civic and governance capacity for livable and age-friendly communities. AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities is active across the country. The toolkit analyzes how and why older adults are disproportionately impacted by disasters, such as extreme heat and the aging of the costal population, and how community-wide resilience can be developed. This is in line with FEMA’s “whole community” approach and “shared goals of promoting disaster resilience through education and community engagement” and “building alliances for equitable resilience.” The toolkit provides access to other technical tools, but also places stress on treating older adults and people with disabilities not as passive victims but as active stakeholders and contributors.

Parks, Recreation, and Land Conservation

David L. Barth, Parks and Recreation System Planning: A New Approach for Creating Sustainable, Resilient Communities (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2020). Order info.

This guide proceeds from the idea that parks and recreation systems are part of an integrated public realm and that they can be designed and planned to enhance multiple benefits, such as controlling flooding and cleaning air, preserving biological diversity and promoting healthy lifestyles, providing opportunities for youth and attracting retirees, preserving historic and cultural districts and enhancing natural areas and trails, stabilizing neighborhoods and improving property values. Over the past two decades, some communities have developed collaborative interdepartmental processes that include parks, transportation, stormwater and other utilities, and that involve the public in planning through a broad range of activities, such as workshops, focus groups, visioning, open houses, online engagement, surveys, and citizen summits. This clear, hands-on guide builds upon the author’s experience with teams of planners across several hundred communities, including those with some of the most integrative and participative approaches. Amy Pohler does not merit a reference, but our first lady of Parks & Rec comedy might find redemption in these new and innovative practices! Amy, meet Kate Parmelee of Port St. Lucie, Florida!

Breece Robertson, Protecting the Places We Love: Conservation Strategies for Entrusted Lands and Parks (Redlands, CA: Esri Press, 2021). Order info.

Beautiful, readable, and usable in step-by-step fashion, this guide presents geographic information system (GIS) tools for land and wildlife conservation, as well as for community and climate resilience through parks and recreation. It is designed for small- to medium-size land trusts, conservation organizations, and park agencies in ways that enable publics to visualize threats, opportunities, and civic networks for engagement, conservation, equity, biodiversity, and restoration. Mapping is designed to present options and scenarios for multi-benefit analysis and public communication, as well as to tell rich community stories of how lands are valued and utilized by everyday people. Tools support a broad range of participatory activities, such as public meetings and workshops, youth engagement and K-12 educational activities, kitchen table meetings and public surveys, community organizing for equity and climate justice, legislative hearings, and hands-on volunteering, citizen science, coproduction, and stewardship.

The volume is the product of two decades of collaborative work by the author, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) research and planning unit (which she headed), and Esri. The handbook primarily features products such as ArcGIS StoryMaps and the Green Infrastructure Collection in Arc GIS Living Atlas, as well as TPL’s ParkServe platform, but also references tools and information sources from a wide array of public agencies and conservation organizations.  Democratizing information, decision making, and strategic capacity building is the core theme of this terrific toolkit.

Scenario Planning

Robert Goodspeed, Scenario Planning for Cities and Regions: Managing and Envisioning Uncertain Futures (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2020). Order info.

Scenario planning is a method of long-term strategic planning that creates representations of multiple, plausible futures – in this case as applied to cities and regions, with special attention to the uncertainties of climate change. The author has produced a textbook and a practical guide, relevant to planning students and practitioners as well as to civic and stakeholder groups. It is well-grounded in the academic literature on planning, complex organizations and systems, and deliberative and collaborative democratic theory without being ponderous. It takes the reader sequentially through digital scenario tools, effective practice, project outcomes, and evaluation, and provides several robust case studies, especially the Futures 2040: Metropolitan Transportation Plan for Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Austin Sustainable Places Project. Goodspeed’s normative perspective is critical of planning scenarios that “colonize” the future, rather than “emancipate” it through equity, shared power, and self-organizing networks.

Oregon Department of Transportation, with Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development and Fregonese Associates, Oregon Scenario Planning Guidelines: Resources for Developing and Evaluating Alternative Land Use and Transportation Scenarios, volume 1 (August 2017). Available online.

These guidelines have been developed to assist Oregon’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations and local jurisdictions to help achieve Oregon’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. They derive from years of regional planning experience, especially in the Portland Metro area, which has engaged ordinary citizens extensively in planning workshops.

Sustainable communities

Mark Roseland, Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and Their Governments. Fourth edition (Gabriola Island, B.C: New Society Publishers, 2012). Order info.

The first edition of this widely utilized guide appeared in 1992, and this fourth edition has continued to incorporate wisdom from the field. It covers a broad range of topics – transportation, energy, waste, water, land use, green building, and more. Citizen participation and collaborative governance are central to its approach, as are various planning toolkits.

Transportation and bicycle planning

National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Public Engagement that Counts, Webinar, February 6, 2018 Available online.

As the professional association that has published beautiful guides on urban bikeway, transit, stormwater, and street design over the past decade, NACTO’s webinar showcases civic engagement in New York, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. Deputy Director for Public Engagement at New York City’s DOT, Inbar Kishoni, explains in a compelling and humorous online training webinar how “street ambassadors” in her office have developed a panoply of ways to meet and talk to residents where they typically congregate – libraries, shopping centers, churches, senior centers. They utilize one-on-ones, fun-filled design tools for kids and adults on the street, as well as online tools and public forums to envision street alternatives and address the concerns of multiple constituencies, from local businesses concerned with curb loading spaces and times to local groups such as the Harlem Bike Network.

Water conservation, river restoration

Water has been central to the environmental movement from the beginning and the challenges of managing, protecting, and restoring water systems and ecosystems have increased in complexity, and civic approaches now complement many of the regulatory programs.

Ann Riley, Restoring Neighborhood Streams: Planning, Design, and Construction (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2016). Order info.

This guide builds upon a career of distinguished work with nonprofits and government agencies in developing the civic capacities, planning strategies, and technical expertise for robust work on urban stream restoration. Includes case studies over several decades and across the country.

Robert I. McDonald, Conservation for Cities: How to Plan & Build Natural Infrastructure (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2015). 280 pages. Order info.

This primer covers a wide array of areas where green infrastructure can be utilized to enhance ecosystem services in cities. It ranges over such topics as drinking water, stormwater and floodwater, as well as coastal protection, climate adaptation, recreation, physical and mental health, and biodiversity. While mainly technical, the guide is clearly written and can assist citizens in planning and stewardship strategies, as well as inform cost-effective democratic decisions for funding green infrastructure. An essential guide.