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The Civic Assembly is a pilot process for strengthening the feedback loops between citizens, civic groups, elected leaders, and local media in communities.  The Assembly is built around a novel ‘self-generating’ online survey methodology called Polis, in which survey participants respond to statements made by one another, resulting in dynamic opinion groups. A successful survey produces a statistical portrait of the concerns and priorities of a community.  Unlike conventional surveys, this process often leads in unpredictable directions.

The Bowling Green Civic Assembly consisted of three phases. The survey, or Virtual Town Hall, took place over the course of a week on the website of the local daily news.  The results of the Virtual Town Hall then structured the agenda for a large public forum--a traditional Town Hall meeting with local elected and community leaders.  The following day, a small Community Workshop connected participants with local civic groups working on issues surfaced in the survey.  Our local partners on this initiative included the Bowling Green Daily News and media consultant Sam Ford.

Timeline of events:

  • Virtual Town Hall, February 4 - 10, 2018

  • Town Hall, Thursday, February 22, 2018

  • Community Workshop, Friday, February 23, 2018


American Press Institute: "How a culture of listening strengthens reporting and relationships," by Cole Goins (September 4, 2018)

Bowling Green Daily News: "Community workshop sheds light on local issues, closes civic assembly," by Don Sergent (February 23, 2018)

Bowling Green Daily News: "Let's talk: Town hall brings residents, public officials together," by Don Sergent (February 23, 2018)

Bowling Green Daily News: “Town Hall portion of Civic Assembly is Thursday,” by Don Sergent (February 21, 2018)

Bowling Green Daily News: "First-ever civic assembly gives residents chance to be heard," by Don Sergent (February 4, 2018)